Governor Expands Elective Surgery Suspension to Hospitals in Four South Texas Counties
By David Doolittle

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Gov. Greg Abbott today suspended most non-emergent elective surgeries at hospitals in Corpus Christi and three Rio Grande Valley counties to help ensure capacity for COVID-19 patients.

The proclamation expands last week’s order to hospitals in Cameron, Hidalgo, Nueces, and Webb counties. It takes effect at 11:59 pm on Wednesday, July 1.

The original order suspended surgeries in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties. 

"As these counties experience a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are committed to working alongside hospitals to help ensure that every COVID-19 patient who needs a bed will have access to one," Governor Abbott said in a statement. "We are constantly monitoring the data at the local level and will continue to take precautionary action where it is necessary.” 

TMA President Diana Fite, MD, called the original 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.”

The order states it will remain in effect “until modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the governor. The governor may by proclamation add to or subtract from the list of counties covered by this prohibition.”

“It’s important to note that the governor did not reissue the same broad order he first put in place on March 22 and rescinded on April 21,” Dr. Fite said last week. “This is critical because we cannot revisit a time when our patients got sicker because physicians had so few options to provide needed care.” 

She noted specifically that the two newer orders “do not apply to ambulatory surgical centers or physicians’ offices, and allow hospital surgical procedures that do not deplete hospitals’ ability to ‘cope with the COVID-19 disaster.’”

Last Updated On

June 30, 2020

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David Doolittle

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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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