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'The time has come' | Texas health care organizations urge Gov. Abbott to issue statewide stay-at-home order

On Tuesday, Gov. Abbott issued an order requiring Texans to only leave home for essential services. But some health care professionals think more should be done.

AUSTIN, Texas — In an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Gov. Greg Abbott has issued an executive order requiring Texans to only leave home for essential activities starting on Thursday, April 2.

Essential services still allowed include things like health care services, food providers, financial operations and critical manufacturing. The new order lasts through at least April 30 and is enforceable by fines or jail time.

RELATED: Gov. Greg Abbott issues essential services-only order until April 30; schools to remain closed until May 4

But some Texas health care professionals think more should be done.

On Tuesday, the Texas Hospital Association and Texas Nurses Association sent a joint letter to Abbott saying, "The time has come for Texas to issue a statewide stay-at-home order."

"The faster and more consistently people stay at home, the safer we all will be and the sooner our economy can rebound from this disaster. With surging counts and projections – and news of community pockets that are not heeding the warning to distance – a statewide stay-at-home policy will send a clear message about the seriousness of the threat. Ultimately, it will save lives," the letter reads in part.

Office of the GovernorP.O. Box 12428Austin, Texas 78711-2428 Representing the state's thousands of nurses and hospital workers, we applaud your actions during the COVID-19emergency and believe you have shown tremendous leadership during this difficult, unprecedented time. Weappreciate your quick work to share information, issue orders and keep Texans safe.

"We really wanted to see something on ... a statewide basis because we know that people flow within and throughout communities and the spread can occur. So, a consistent response is important," Cindy Zolnierek said.

Zolnierek is the CEO of the Texas Nurses Association.

"I think the governor's message today is an important reminder. This is, again, each one of our responsibilities as a citizen to take care of each other and prevent the spread of this virus," Zolnierek said.

RELATED: 'We stay here for you, please stay home for us' | Medical professionals start social media campaign

According to a University of Texas at Austin study, direct contact with others should be reduced by 90% to actually be effective in preventing overflow at hospitals.

Abbott said Tuesday that Texans are slowing the spread of the virus but the response isn't over.

"As the coronavirus has spread across the land at a time when lives are literally at risk, Texans continue to rise to the occasion," Abbott said.

WATCH: Gov. Greg Abbott says Texans must stay home, with exceptions

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