AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas has found itself in the midst of a coronavirus surge in the past few weeks, with confirmed cases and hospitalizations on the rise. The spike has resulted in Austin Public Health placing the Austin-Travis County region in the fourth stage of its risk-based chart.
This comes as Phase 3 of the plan to reopen the state’s economy is well underway, and the news is disconcerting – so much so that Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the spike during a news conference Tuesday.
Abbott again stated that Texas has the hospital bed capacity to deal with an influx of COVID-19 patients and said that we’re in a short period of time in which we have to coexist with the virus. He said this will be the case until COVID-19 treatments become viable and widely available.
.@GovAbbott says "we're here today to let Texans know about the abundant hospital capacity that exists to treat Texans who may test positive for #COVID19." Comes as the state reports highest # hospitalized to date.— KarinaKling (@KarinaKling) June 16, 2020
Abbott says, "Stay at home. If you do not need to get out the best advice is to still stay at home. Now of course this is especially true for those who are age, 65 and older, and especially those of that age group who have some other health-based condition."— Reena Diamante (@reenajade) June 16, 2020
Abbott said that while fewer Texans test positive for the novel coronavirus than in other large states, he warned that Tuesday would bring another record for positive cases at 2,622.
As for what is causing the spike, Abbott attributed much of it to so-called hot spots. For instance, Colin County recently had 122 people test positive, and that was mostly attributed to an assisted living facility.
Jefferson County, Abbott said, is averaging about 12-15 positive cases per day, and that can largely be attributed to the presence of state and federal prisons.
In other instances, such as in Bexar County, Abbott attributed the spike to people under 30 going to bars and failing to practice sufficient social distancing measures. Abbott said the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission warned bars that violations of health standards will result in those establishments losing their liquor licenses for 30 days for the first offense and 60 days for the second.