AUSTIN, Texas — In a move to start reigniting Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott passed an order allowing hospitals to begin doing elective surgeries and procedures again.
The order is in effect from April 22 until May 8.
"It is time to allow those doctors and nurses to return to work," Abbott said when he announced the order on Friday, April 17.
However, the order places guidelines for when these procedures are allowed:
- The procedures cannot deplete the hospital bed capacity or the personal protective equipment supply needed to treat COVID-19 patients.
- A health care facility must reserve at least 25% of its hospital capacity for coronavirus related patients.
- Finally, a facility cannot request personal protective equipment from any public source from the local, state or federal level.
In a press conference on Tuesday, April 21, Abbott confirmed more than 21,000 hospital beds are available in the state, including 2,377 ICU beds. In addition, there are about 8,300 ventilators available across the state.
Abbott will keep these orders in place as long as the number of coronavirus cases does not begin to spike, and suggests that hospitals take safety precautions to ensure this.
As this order kicks into place, Abbott also placed more security measures on nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
These facilities are required to strengthen infection control policies. The state must also minimize the movement of healthcare workers between facilities.
He believes opening up hospitals to more procedures is a part of getting Texas back on track.
"It's time to allow those doctors and nurses to return to work," he said.
Abbott signed the original order banning elective surgeries on March 22. He is expected to make more announcements regarding the reopening of Texas on April 27.
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