Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday said he has no plans to reinstate business restrictions in Texas despite a significant spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent days.
“COVID-19 remains a very fast-spreading virus that will remain … until treatments are available to mitigate it,” Governor Abbott said at a Capitol press conference. “Our goal is to keep businesses open, and to keep societies engaged, and one of the most
effective ways we can do that is to encourage people to wear masks.”
Governor Abbott also stressed the importance of practices that slow the spread of COVID-19, including staying home if sick or at risk, maintaining safe distances when outside or in businesses, and practicing regular hand hygiene.
“COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, but neither has our ability to slow the spread of it,” he said. “Our goal is to keep Texans out of hospitals and to reduce the number of Texans who test positive.”
Texas Medical Association President Diana Fite, MD, thanked the governor for “using the power of his office to warn Texans about the serious, ongoing threat of COVID-19 and to recommend that Texans take proven steps to protect themselves and their neighbors.”
“As a physician, I’ve seen many patients reach that critical moment when the right actions make the difference between recovery or not,” Dr. Fite said. “Texas is at that critical moment today. The governor told us all what we need to do. Wear a mask,
The governor pointed to three key pieces of data that underline the dramatic spike in illness since the beginning of June:
- The average number of cases has increased from about 1,500 a day in the last half of May to 3,500 a day in June;
- The positivity rate (or the number of positive tests compared to the total number of tests) has jumped from 4.5% in late May to almost 9% today; and
- Average hospitalizations have gone from over 1,600 a day to more than 3,200.
“To state the obvious, COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas, and it must be corralled,” he said.
Governor Abbott said Texas continues to have an adequate amount of hospital beds available to treat COVID-19 patients while caring for Texans with other illnesses. And Chief Nim Kidd of the Texas Division of Emergency Management said Texas now has enough
personal protective equipment (PPE) for the state’s physicians, hospitals, and health care professionals.