Coronavirus updates: US Army sending medical task force to Houston

ABC News Corona Virus Government. Response

Houston’s Texas Medical Center is at 105% capacity.

A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 559,000 people worldwide.

Over 12.5 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

The United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 3.1 million diagnosed cases and at least 134,097 deaths.

Latest headlines:

  • Army heading to Houston to battle COVID-19
  • Here is how the news is developing today. All times Eastern.

    5:28 a.m.: Army medical task force heading to Houston as hospitals fill up

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced late Friday night that the United States Amry is sending a medical task force to Houston to help with the city’s COVID-19 battle.

    The additional resources, Abbott said, include an Urban Area Medical Task Force from the U.S. Department of Defense that will arrive on Monday and a Disaster Medical Assistance Team from U.S. Health and Human Services that has just been deployed.

    “Texas is grateful to the federal government as well as the President and Vice President for working swiftly to provide additional resources to the state as we work to mitigate COVID-19 and care for our fellow Texans,” Abbott said in a statement Friday. “We will continue to work with our local and federal partners to ensure all resources and needs are met throughout the state.”

    Houston has seen a significant rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, which caused many public health officials and hospitals to issue warnings that ICU bed availability is running low. Houston’s Texas Medical Center is at 105% capacity.

    The city reported 670 new diagnosed COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing Houston’s total to at least 26,682. The coronavirus death toll for the city increased by nine, which now stands at 259.

    Numbers are just as jarring throughout the Lone Star State. Texas’ statewide COVID-19 death toll reached a single-day high of 105 Friday. The state had a 15.56% positivity test rate, according to an internal Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained by ABC News.

    Nearly 14% of all new U.S. coronavirus cases in the past seven days have been identified in Texas, the memo said.

    The rise in cases also led to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to cancel the in-person Republican Party convention in the city, prompting a lawsuit by the state GOP.

    What to know about coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the U.S. and worldwide: Coronavirus map
  • ABC News’ Josh Margolin contributed to this report.

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