Texas governor pauses process of reopening the state as COVID-19 cases soar
AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX) - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Thursday paused further phases of the process of reopening the state after a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases and a jump in hospitalizations that has renewed concerns about capacity.
“This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business,” Abbott said Thursday.
Businesses permitted to open under previous phases of the process may continue to operate at designated occupancy levels.
“As we experience an increase in both positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are focused on strategies that slow the spread of this virus while also allowing Texans to continue earning a paycheck to support their families,” Abbott said.
“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses,” he said.
Abbott earlier Thursday ordered a halt to elective surgeries in the state’s biggest counties.
The surgery ban applies to Dallas, Harris, Travis and Bexar counties.
The number of patients admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 has more than doubled in just two weeks.
Texas has emerged as one of the nation’s biggest coronavirus hotspots, reporting more than 11,000 new cases in the past two days alone.
Abbott has taken a newly urgent tone about the worsening trends and is now telling Texans they should stay home.
Texas Medical Association President Dr. Diana L. Fite called the order “an appropriate use of the governor’s authority to ensure Texas hospitals have the beds, staff, and resources that physicians need to care for our most seriously ill patients - whether with COVID-19, other diseases, or significant trauma.”
“Combined with Gov. Abbott’s announcement that the state will take no additional steps for now to reopen the economy, with his earlier decisions giving local officials more authority, and with his continued insistence that all Texans take commonsense safety precautions, this order gives Texas additional tools to respond to this pandemic,” she said.
“It’s important to note that the governor did not reissue the same broad order he first put in place on March 22 and rescinded on April 21. This is critical because we cannot revisit a time when our patients got sicker because physicians had so few options to provide needed care.”
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