Still, the state has no mask mandate, and on Tuesday night, Mayor Paul TenHaken of Sioux Falls cast the tiebreaking vote to strike down a citywide mask mandate, which he has called “simply unenforceable.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Kate Dossett, 39, arrived home from a Sioux Falls hospital, still hooked up to a portable oxygen machine. She had spent eight days on a floor that was usually meant for stroke patients but was, she said, overrun with people sick from the virus.
“I don’t know how the nurses can keep going,” she said. “It’s just day after day after day.”
With so many patients, staff members from other departments were stepping in to care for Covid-19 patients, Ms. Dossett said. A physical therapy assistant had helped care for her at one point, she said.
“It’s clearly all hands on deck,” she said.
The state with the most total cases, and the most cases linked to colleges.
More than one million cases have been reported in Texas, more than any other state. And more than 20,000 of those cases have been linked to colleges and universities, also the highest in the country.
While those records are partly a function of the state’s large population, major outbreaks have emerged this fall in cities like El Paso and Amarillo, as well as on several university campuses.
More than 2,200 cases have been reported at Texas Tech, more than 2,000 at Texas A&M and more than 1,500 on the Austin campus of the University of Texas. Hunter Heck, the student body president at Texas Tech, says there has been a disconnect between life on campus, where students for the most part are socially distanced and wear masks, and raucous off-campus parties.