AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that the state is facing a “massive outbreak” in the coronavirus pandemic and that some new local restrictions may be needed to protect hospital space for new patients.
COVID-19 cases continue to soar in Texas with a record 5,551 on Wednesday. Nearly 1,000 of those cases are in Houston.
More than 4,300 Texans are hospitalized with COVID-19.
“There is a massive outbreak of COVID-19 across the state of Texas," Abbott said in an interview from his campaign office studio in Austin.
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Abbott, who aggressively pushed to reopen the state in May, acknowledged state officials are closely watching hospital space. One of the first measures Abbott took in March when the pandemic emerged in the state was to order hospitals to suspend nonessential surgeries to help ensure they weren't overwhelmed. That ban was later rescinded.
With new cases and the number of COVID-19 patients rising rapidly, "We are looking at greater restrictions and some could be localized,” Abbott said Wednesday without detailing what those would be or where.
“There are some regions in the state of Texas that are running tight on hospital capacity that may necessitate a localized strategy to make sure that hospital beds will be available," he said.
Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, the largest pediatric hospital in the U.S. said Tuesday that it was admitting adult patients across its campuses to free up more hospital bed space in the Houston area. The number of COVID-19-positive hospital patients in Harris County, which encompasses Houston, has nearly tripled since May 31.
Even with the hint of new restrictions to protect hospital space, Abbott said in a separate interview with a Beaumont television station that hospital executives have assured him that they will be able to handle the rising numbers of patients.
“If there are more people coming in with COVID-19, they will ensure that beds are available,” Abbott said.
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