Abbott: ‘Closing down Texas again’ a last resort

While the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Texas is “unacceptable,” Gov. Greg Abbott said at Monday’s news briefing, he has no plans to shut down the state like he did in March.

“We must find ways to return to our daily routines as well as finding ways to coexist with COVID-19,” Abbott said. “Closing down Texas again will always be the last option.”

Hospital capacity remains high despite increased COVID-19 hospitalizations. State health officials reported 3,409 patients admitted to Texas hospitals Sunday.

A new record of 4,430 COVID-19 cases was reported in a single day, partially because of a Harris County data entry backlog. On Sunday, the State Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported 3,866 new coronavirus-related cases.

Abbott emphasized that he spoke with hospital administrators last week who said they are more than able to handle an increase in admissions.

According to HHS, as of June 21, a total of 1,715,177 tests have been conducted in the state, of which 111,601 cases have returned positive.

Of these 111,601 cases, there have been 68,499 reported recoveries and 40,920 active cases. Of Texas’ nearly 29 million population, 2,182 have died from the coronavirus.

Abbott said his administration continues to follow the data and monitor three metrics used to evaluate the spread and containment of the virus. In the last week, the numbers doubled in all three categories.

“We remain flexible with regard to implementing additional strategies if needed,” Abbott said. “If we experience another doubling in the next month [of these three categories], further actions would be required to make sure we do maintain the spread of COVID-19.”

Bexar County officials reported 538 new coronavirus cases Sunday – the largest one-day increase since the start of the outbreak, and one new death.

Abbott also announced the results of a study completed by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts at the request of the Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC), which analyzed the impact of the U.S. military bases on the state’s economy.

The report estimates that the 15 U.S. military installations and the U.S. Army Futures Command based in Texas contributed at least $123.6 billion to the Texas economy in 2019 and supported more than 630,000 jobs.

“In most cases these bases and the men and women who work there are the lifeblood of their communities – supporting local businesses, buying homes and creating the fabric of their neighborhoods,” Hegar said in a prepared statement.

Military personnel have added “critical stability for communities focused on economic recovery following the COVID-19” shutdown, Abbott said.

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