Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced that the state of Texas is now facing a “massive outbreak” in the coronavirus pandemic. The Gov. noted that some new local restrictions may be needed in order to protect hospital space for new patients. Through an interview, Abbott said Texas would again pass 5,000 new coronavirus cases and more than 4,000 hospital patients with COVID-19. Texas passed both thresholds for the first time on Tuesday.
Abbot, who previously aggressively pushed for the reopening of Texas in May, acknowledged that state officials are closely watching hospital space. One of the first measures the Gov. took back in March when the pandemic began in the state, was to order hospitals to suspend nonessential surgeries to help ensure they weren’t overwhelmed. The ban was later rescinded.
With the new cases popping up, the number of COVID-19 patients rising rapidly, Abbot stated, “We are looking at greater restrictions and some could be localized. There are some regions in the state of Texas that are running tight on hospital capacity that may necessitate a localized strategy to make sure that hospital beds will be available.”
Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, which is the largest pediatric hospital in the United States, stated it was admitting adult patients across its campuses to help free up more hospital beds in the Houston area. The number of COVID-19 positive hospital patients in Harris County has nearly tripled its numbers since May 31.
Although there was a hint of new restrictions to protect hospital space, Abbot stated ina. a separate interview that hospital executives did assure him they will be able to handle the rising numbers of patients. He noted, “if there are more people coming in with COVID-19, they will ensure that beds are available.”
As far as coronavirus testing, Abbott stated Texas would not seek an extension to federally funded sites, which will lose funding by the end of June, in Dallas. Instead, Abbot said there will be a new strategy that will take place on those sites. He did not go into detail about what the strategy involves, but said the state will have information “hopefully within a week.” The Texas Department of State Health Services is still urging people to practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away in public and wearing face coverings in public areas.