Texas pauses reopening plan as coronavirus surges


The suspension of elective surgeries is created to protect hospital space in the Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio areas.

In a news release, Abbott said the state will pause all scheduled phases of reopening, meaning any businesses that would have been allowed to reopen in the coming weeks will have to remain closed.

Texas @GovAbbott is putting any further reopening of the state's economy on hold. On Thursday, he suspended elective surgeries in the Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio areas to free up hospital bed space.

"As we experience an increase in both positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are focused on strategies that slow the spread of this virus while also allowing Texans to continue earning a paycheck to support their families", Abbott said in a statement. Texas has reported more than 11,000 new cases in the previous two days alone. Harris County - covering cases outside the city of Houston - has reported a total of 142 deaths and 9,533 confirmed cases.

Mr Abbott's order was published just hours before Texas set another record for the number of new coronavirus cases in a single day.

Governor Greg Abbott gave bars in Texas until midday Friday to close down, while Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation told bars to immediately stop serving alcohol on their premises. "This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread", Abbott said, asking residents to wear masks and respect social distancing guidelines. The number of COVID-19-positive hospital patients in Harris County, which encompasses Houston, has almost tripled since May 31.

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That statewide ban lasted about a month before Abbott eased it, allowing hospitals to resume non-essential procedures under certain conditions, as long as 15% of beds were reserved for coronavirus patients.

Some counties could be added to the list if hospitalizations surge in other areas of Texas.

"As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19", the governor said in a press release.

As hospitalization for COVID-19 patients continues to climb in Houston, Texas Medical Center, the largest medical district in the world, said all ICU beds in the center are now occupied, with 28 percent taken by COVID-19 patients.

Cuomo, a Democrat, told a briefing that states that followed guidance from the White House are now seeing a spike in cases, arguing that NY curbed the outbreak by taking what he called a scientific, rather than a political, approach.

Also reporting record rises in cases this week were Alabama, Arizona, California, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming.