AUSTIN, Texas — After parts of Texas saw a jump in the number of COVID-19 cases, Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Monday, June 22, that the coronavirus is spreading at an "unacceptable rate" in the state. This comes after Abbott ordered the state to continue to gradually reopen.
As of June 22, more than 3,400 people are in Texas hospitals because of coronavirus, which is an increase of 162 patients in the past 24 hours. Hospitalizations in Texas have hit a new record for 10 days in a row, and on June 19, COVID-19 cases in the state passed 100,000.
Gov. Abbott said at a press conference on Monday afternoon that there are measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 without shutting down the Texas economy, such as wearing face coverings, enforcing social distancing regulations, closing river park operations, requiring masks in public spaces and increasing testing in coronavirus hotspots.
He said the State is also working with hospitals to ensure everyone is able to get the treatment necessary.
The governor said the state continues to have abundant hospital capacity. Despite this, Gov. Abbott encouraged people to continue practicing social distancing and proper hygiene.
"I know that some people feel that wearing a mask is inconvenient, or that it is, like, an infringement of freedom," said Gov. Abbott. "But I also know that wearing a mask will help us to keep Texas open."
"If we do not start wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, it could result in [businesses] actually having to close back down," said Gov. Abbott. "Our goal is to keep businesses open, to keep society engaged, and one of the most effective tools that we can do that is by people wearing masks"
According to Gov. Abbott, shutting down Texas businesses again will only happen as a last resort.
"We can protect Texans' lives while also restoring their livelihoods. Together, we can keep Texans safe. Together, we will keep Texas open for business," Gov. Abbott said.
After the state saw spikes in hospitalization and new cases, Gov. Abbott said additional measures will be taken if these trends continue.
"If we were to experience another doubling of those numbers over the next month, that would mean we are in an urgent situation where tougher actions will be required to make sure that we do contain the spread of COVID-19," said Gov. Abbott.
According to Chief Nim Kidd with the Texas Department of Emergency Management, there is currently no shortage of personal protective equipment.
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