The Texas Hospital Association issued a statement Friday morning asking for the public’s help as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to surge statewide.

The statement reads, “Out of care and respect for hospital staff who will be working through the holidays and beyond, Texas hospitals ask you to keep holiday gatherings very small. Remember that the safest way to celebrate is at home with the people you live with. We also ask that you continue to strictly follow the science-based precautions of masking, social distancing and hand washing.”

The statement went on to state, “This has been a long road, and while we have come a long way, Texas hospitalizations are sharply increasing, reaching almost 8,000 hospitalizations yesterday (Thursday) — the highest we’ve seen since the devastating summer outbreak in Texas.”

The THA represents more than 450 of around 600 licensed hospitals in the state.

As of Thursday, 1.14 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state with 20,689 coronavirus-related deaths. On Thursday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ruled out issuing another statewide lockdown and accused local leaders of not doing enough to existing restrictions, the Associated Press reported. In July, Abbott issued a mask mandate that all people wear facial coverings to help stop the spread of the virus.

Texas’ largest cities say their ranks of code enforcement staff are limited, and some Texas sheriffs have similarly balked at enforcing mask orders, saying they lack enough deputies to do so, the AP reported.

The THA said nurses, janitorial staff, physicians, laboratory technicians, food service workers and many others have continued to show up to work to treat those battling the virus.

“They do not have the option of turning away or taking a break from the pandemic. They are on the frontlines of this deadly battle. They are tired and emotionally drained. They are worried about their own families. Yet, they keep moving forward, fighting for their patients,” the association said.

The THA said while there is “real hope” that vaccines and other treatment will be available in the future, they encourage the public to continue practice social distancing, wear facial coverings and limit gatherings.

“We ask that you think of the health and safety of Texas health care workers as you make plans for the holiday season,” the THA said.