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AUSTIN — Texas coronavirus hospitalizations continued to edge closer to the 14,000 level Friday as the string of record hospitalizations continued, state health officials said.

COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals numbered 13,921 Friday, marking the state's 12th consecutive daily record, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The 372 new fatalities brought the Texas COVID-19 death toll to 29,310, and 22,946 new confirmed and probable cases brought the total for the outbreak to more than 1.9 million, almost 334,711 of those now active.

The U.S. this week topped 4,000 coronavirus deaths in a single day for the first time as governors tried to ramp up the pace of vaccinations and open the line to elderly people and others.

In Texas, health officials announced they will send most of the vaccine the state receives next week to large providers who can conduct large-scale

vaccinations.

Health officials say the crisis is growing worse after family gatherings and travel over the holidays and the onset of winter, which is pushing people indoors.

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