Texas Halts Further Reopening of its Economy Due to Recent COVID-19 Surge
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the state will not continue reopening more areas of the economy for now. This comes a day after he acknowledged the "massive outbreak" of the coronavirus in Texas. "As we experience an increase in both positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are focused on strategies that slow the spread of this virus while also allowing Texans to continue earning a paycheck to support their families," Abbot said Thursday morning. He also added that closing down businesses that had recently reopened was not an option.
"Texas was among the first states to begin the process of reopening, and many businesses are in operation once again. Those businesses that are already permitted to be open may continue to operate under existing health protocols and capacity restrictions. Bars and restaurants have already opened for indoor seating, and gyms, malls and movie theaters have been allowed to open, too", NPR reports. 5,480 fewer Texans filed for unemployment claims this week as a result of businesses opening.
Elective surgeries were also suspended in Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties. These counties contain the largest cities in the state such as San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and Austin. The aim of this move is to allow for greater hospital capacity as the number of cases increases.
"In San Antonio, ventilator availability dipped below 70% for the first time on Wednesday, Texas Public Radio reported. In Houston, one hospital's ICU reportedly was at 120% capacity, while another one's was at 88%. Texas Medical Center in Houston said Tuesday that 97% of its ICU beds were occupied and that 27% of those patients were people who had tested positive for the coronavirus."
There were 5,551 new cases on Wednesday in Texas. This was the state’s highest daily figure yet. Governor Abbot said, "As we work to contain this virus, I urge all Texans to do their part to help contain the spread by washing their hands regularly, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing."