Abbott says statewide shelter-in-place not right, right now; moves to increase hospital beds

Talk 1370 Newsroom
March 22, 2020 - 4:24 pm
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Office of the Governor

AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott gave an update on the state's response to COVID-19 Sunday afternoon, resisting the urge to order a statewide shelter-in-place.

Abbott, flanked by Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, and Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, spoke at the state capitol.

Abbott says a statewide shelter-in-place order isn't right for the entire state. "I am the governor of 254 counties in the state of Texas," Abbott said. "More than 200 of those counties in the state of Texas still have zero cases of people testing positive for COVID-19."

334 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported across the state as of Sunday afternoon, with 6 deaths. Abbott said more than 8,000 people had been tested for the virus.

In the state's harder-hit urban areas, Abbott said he'd support local jurisdictions calling for a shelter-in-place if they felt it was necessary.

Abbott also issued executive orders aimed at bolstering the state's hospital capacity, aimed at preventing a shortage of hospital beds across the state. Hospitals are now allowed to treat two patients in a room, and all healthcare facilities across the state are directed to postpone any elective or non-medically-necessary procedures.

"We have seen how this virus has progressed in other states and nations, and it is vital that Texas stays ahead of the curve as the situation develops here," Abbott said. "Patient care capacity is essential during this time, which is why the state of Texas is taking action to increase hospital bed capacity, provide additional space for medical personnel to care for patients, and ensure that healthcare facilities have the supplies needed to respond to COVID-19."

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