Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that the state would “pause” reopening businesses as positive coronavirus tests have skyrocketed.
Businesses that are already open will not have to close, but any further relaxing of lockdown restrictions have been put on hold.
Government officials have been alarmed at the increase in hospitalizations for COVID-19 to 4,389 from last week’s 2,793. The trend in infections is also up at a worrying rate, with more than 5,500 positive tests reported today. That’s a record number and Abbott is looking to slow the rate of increase before proceeding with more business openings.
“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses. 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 in the release.
The outbreaks appear to be in four counties.
Earlier on Thursday, Abbott ordered all licensed hospitals in the hard-hit Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties to postpone elective procedures in order to protect hospital capacity for Covid-19 patients. There are currently 4,389 Covid-19 patients hospitalized statewide in Texas, up from 2,793 a week ago, according to the state’s health department.
“These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19 and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients,” Abbott said in his executive order.
Houston is one of the hardest-hit cities and is now seeing hospitalizations soar to alarming levels. Abbott has ordered elective surgeries canceled in hospitals in the affected counties.
From Texas Governor’s Office – Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order to ensure hospital bed availability for COVID-19 patients as Texas faces an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The Governor’s order suspends elective surgeries at hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties. Under this order, the Governor directs all hospitals in these counties to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician.
Through proclamation, the Governor can add or subtract from the list of counties included in the Executive Order to address surges in hospitalizations that may arise in other parts of the state.
These are prudent measures that will help the state get a handle on the outbreaks. It will last at least a month and probably a little longer. The effects of the slowdown won’t really be seen for several weeks. It’s an unfortunate setback, but in an unprecedented situation, flexibility is called for. Abbott is being smart. He’s not panicking like the media wants him to. He’s taking measured steps to deal with the crisis.
In short, he’s doing his job. You wish the media would do theirs.