Earlier this week, Governor Greg Abbott provided an update on the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations throughout the state, as well as the number of hospital beds available. On Tuesday, out of the state’s 54,844 hospital beds, there were 14,993, or 27%, beds available. He added that there were 1,675 available ICU beds and 5,869 available ventilators statewide. He also touched on the various tools available to handle an expanded outbreak, such as surge response teams for hotspots and the ability to again postpone elective surgeries to make more hospital beds available.
Abbott noted that the state is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases from people under the age of 30. There were 2,622 new cases recorded Tuesday, surpassing the previous record that was set on June 10. The state also had 2,518 new hospitalizations, the fifth straight day of record highs. Abbott highlighted that the number of people hospitalized has been increasing steadily since May 25, when 1,511 people were hospitalized.
While Abbott said he felt businesses have adopted safe strategies to reopen, he reminded Texans about the importance of wearing facial coverings and said the best way to avoid contracting and spreading the virus is to stay home. He did not issue any order to mandate facial coverings statewide.
In response, a bipartisan group of mayors in nine Texas cities, including San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, sent Abbott a letter later that evening urging him to grant them the authority to require face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued Executive Order NW-10, ordering all commercial entities in Bexar County that provide goods or services directly to the public to require all employees or visitors to wear face coverings where six feet of separation is not feasible. Local businesses have until Monday to develop a policy that outlines the use of face masks. This order will remain in effect until Tuesday, June 30, 2020.
In alignment with Judge Wolff’s Executive Order, Mayor Nirenberg issued an addendum to San Antonio’s standing Emergency Order later that afternoon.
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