ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene’s mayor Anthony Williams is addressing a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, saying he does expect to see more citizens hospitalized soon.

Right now, Mayor Williams says there are 1,500 cases of COVID-19 in Abilene. 20 patients are hospitalized, and for the first time in a long time, a citizen with the virus has died.

However, Mayor Williams explains that the cases have actually dropped by 14% and 16% over the past two weeks, but that doesn’t mean the community is in the clear.

“We do anticipate more of our citizens being hospitalized,” Mayor Williams says.

This is because hospitalizations usually lag behind active cases. Though Mayor Williams does believe the number of COVID infections may have already come to a climax.

Currently, the B-5 and B-2 variants are causing most of the cases, and Mayor Williams says these variants are more contagious but less severe.

Mayor Williams also explains that there are currently no local or statewide COVID-19 mandates, and he doesn’t see any being introduced anytime soon.

“I would not feel comfortable putting mandates in at this time,” Mayor Williams explains.

Hendrick Health System did just move their COVID-19 dial to Level 4: Severe for the first time since December, meaning masks will be required at Abilene hospitals beginning August 1. Patient visitations will also be limited.

At the end of his update, Mayor Williams wanted to remind citizens to “wash your hands, use good hygiene, and make good decisions.”

No further information was released.