Governor hits pause on Texas' reopening following COVID-19 surge
The glorious reopening of Texas has been put on a temporary hold, in response to a surge in positive cases of the coronavirus.
According to a release, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is pausing any further phases to open Texas, as the state responds to the recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Businesses that were permitted to open under the previous phases, with the most recent one being Phase III deployed on June 3, can continue to operate.
Just don't expect Phase IV to come along any time soon.
"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," Abbott said in a statement.
"The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses," he said. "This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business."
"Corral" has been his go-to word. He used it in his press conference on June 22, when he said that current strategies to combat the coronavirus were working, despite 10 straight days of record numbers of COVID-19 cases across the state.
"COVID-19 is spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas and it must be corralled," he said. "But we have strategies to reduce that without shutting Texas back down."
Abbott also suspended elective surgeries at hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties, in order to ensure there are enough hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.
"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," he said.
Dallas County has hit a series of new highs, significant enough that healthcare professionals from UT Southwestern sounded an alarm.
According to UTSW figures, statistics in Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant counties all show that the pandemic is spreading. Tarrant County reported a seven-day high of 25 percent positivity on June 23, while hospitalization rates in Collin County and Denton County doubled in a week.
State-wide, Texas is also seeing new highs, with 5,551 new coronavirus cases on June 24, a record high, and another record of 4,389 patients hospitalized.