'COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas,' Abbott says, but closing down is 'last option'
Gov. Greg Abbott said COVID-19 cases are rising too quickly across Texas, but that he will not place additional restrictions on residents or businesses at this time.
"To state the obvious, COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas and it must be corralled," Abbott said at a press conference Monday.
Shutting down the economy and the state of Texas remains the last resort, Abbott said.
"I've said all along that if the positivity rate or the hospitalization rate increased too much, we have strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 without returning to stay-at-home policies," Abbott said. "Closing down Texas again will always be the last option."
"COVID-19 remains a very fast-spreading virus that will remain in Texas, the United States and across the entire world until treatments are available to mitigate it," Abbott said. "As a result, we must find ways to return to our daily routines while also learning ways to coexist with COVID-19."
Abbott said that hospitals still have "abundant capacity" to treat patients with coronavirus. Nim Kidd, chief of Texas Division of Emergency Management, said the state has enough personal protective equipment at this time and is administering about 32,000 COVID-19 tests per day.
"We are at a very crucial point in time—as you can see—that the data, the trends are going up in a way that we really need to get control of," said John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. "Wear a face covering. That's a really great idea."
This story has been updated from the original.
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