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Gov. Abbott says Texas is facing 'massive' COVID-19 outbreak

The governor aggressively pushed to reopen Texas in May. He acknowledges that state officials are now closely watching hospital space.

Editor's note: This story was edited to clarify hospitalization numbers in Denton County. Currently 40 of its 588 patients are attributed to the coronavirus.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the state is facing a “massive outbreak” in the coronavirus pandemic. He says some new local restrictions may be needed to protect hospital space for new patients. 

In a series of interviews Wednesday with television stations, Abbott said Texas would again pass 5,000 new coronavirus cases and more than 4,000 hospital patients. Texas passed both thresholds for the first time Tuesday. 

RELATED: COVID-19 updates: Texas hospitalizations hit new peak 12th day in a row with nearly 4,100 patients reported

Abbott aggressively pushed to reopen the state in May. He acknowledges that state officials are now closely watching hospital space. Abbott did not detail what “localized” restrictions might be put in place.

Wednesday afternoon, Dallas County reported an increase of 72 patients within the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 542 people hospitalized due to COVID-19. 

Tarrant County reported 460 new cases Wednesday, which set a record-high for daily cases. There are also 321 countywide coronavirus-related hospitalizations, according to data released by health officials.  

Denton County reported that 58% of its hospital beds are occupied, including 40 by COVID-19 patients, and Collin County currently has 136 patients. 

RELATED: These states require face masks be worn in public

In a news conference earlier this week, the governor said businesses could be shut down again if more Texans do not begin to wear masks and take other preventative measures. 

"If we do not start wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, it could result in [businesses] actually having to close back down," said Gov. Abbott. "Our goal is to keep businesses open, to keep society engaged, and one of the most effective tools that we can do that is by people wearing masks." 

Judge Clay Jenkins suggested on Twitter that Abbott implement statewide rules in efforts to fight the spread of the disease.

In Dallas County, a new order went into effect on Saturday requiring residents and all employees to wear a face mask. The order is in effect through Aug. 4. 

Surrounding counties in North Texas such as Collin, Denton, and Tarrant counties have not mandated face-covering orders.

RELATED: What you need to know about Dallas County's new face mask requirement

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