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Governor says “there is no shutdown coming” as coronavirus cases surge

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a strike force in charge of laying steps to re-open the Texas...
Gov. Greg Abbott announced a strike force in charge of laying steps to re-open the Texas economy at a press conference in the capitol on Friday.(Miguel Gutierrez Jr/The Texas Tribune)
Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 7:07 PM CDT
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AUSTIN (Texas Tribune) - As the number of new coronavirus cases in Texas continues to rise and hospitals grow more crowded, Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday there is no statewide shutdown looming.

Abbott said last week that if the spread of the virus didn't slow that "the next step would have to be a lockdown." But in a television interview Thursday he said that there have been rumors of such a move, and stressed that they were not true.

“Let me tell you, there is no shutdown coming,” he told KRIV.

Abbott pointed to measures he’s taken in recent weeks, including a statewide mask mandate and an order shutting down bars, to slow the spread of the virus. It will take a few weeks to see a reversal in coronavirus case surges, he said.

As of Thursday, there were 10,457 people in Texas hospitals with the coronavirus. That was down slightly from a peak of 10,569 on Tuesday, but more than four times the number a month ago. Abbott described seeing a "flattening" of hospitalizations.

“We are certainly not out of the woods yet, but this could be a glimmer of hope,” Abbott said. “But the only way we can avoid a shutdown is if we do get everybody buying into this process of wearing a face mask.”

Earlier Thursday, Abbott defended his coronavirus response at the Texas GOP convention after acknowledging widespread discontent among party members. Several Republican officials have voiced their criticism of Abbott’s statewide mask order.

“The last thing that any of us want is to lock Texas back down again,” he said during the virtual convention.

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