AUSTIN, Texas - More people are testing positive for the COVID-19 virus and as a result, more people are winding up in local hospitals.
On Tuesday afternoon Gov. Greg Abbott admitted the upward trend can't be ignored.
"The increased occupancy of hospital beds, it does raise concerns but as shown today there's no reason to be alarmed. The reason is even though there are more people hospitalized we still remain at the lowest threat level in our hospital capacity,” said Abbott.
The governor, along with Dr. John Zerwas, who is working with local hospital authorities, said they are almost 15,000 hospital beds across the state that are available to take patients. That's nearly a 78% increase in capacity since the middle of March.
“A lot of COVID-19 patients are out there, they aren't driving the hospital census right now,” said Dr. Zerwas.
State officials say a surge plan is in place to increase capacity if needed. That would involve using medical office buildings, surgery centers, and in the worst-case scenario, setting up in arenas as well as convention centers.
"As we gather today we are better prepared to deal with COVID-19 today than we were back in March and April. There are new medical strategies, new treatments that are available today,” said Abbott.
The Governor said there are several different reasons why there are more people testing positive for the virus. He noted how more people are out as more businesses open. Some of the one-day spikes, according to the Governor, are the result of large batches of test reports coming in from jails and prisons and nursing home facilities.
Abbott re-stated that Texas is having to co-exist with the virus, but he is against allowing local authorities crack down on those who do not wear a mask.
"All of us have a collective responsibility to educate the public that wearing a mask is the best thing to do. Putting people in jail however is the wrong approach," said the Governor.
Abbott said that in order to keep the hospital capacity situation manageable, Texans should do four things:
- Stay home if you can
- Wear a mask
- Wash your hands
- Maintain a safe distance when you are out
Texas Democrats continued to ridicule the governor's response to COVID-19. Party officials issued a statement Tuesday that described the Governor's response to the outbreak as, “weak and reckless leadership.”
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