AUSTIN, TX (CBSDFW.COM) – Governor Greg Abbott and Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Texas (UT) System John Zerwas, MD are today providing an update on Texas’ hospital capacity.
“Fewer Texans test positive for COVID-19 than residents of any large state in the United States. We have the second lowest death rate of the 25 most affected states of America. Less than 10% of Texans who test positive even need to go to the hospital in the first place,” said the governor. “We remain laser focused on providing hospital capacity.”
Abbott also warned about a recent uptick in positive cases in people under the age of 30.
“This typically results from people going to a bar setting. That is the case in Lubbock County, Barry County, Cameron County, where there were news reports in each of those three counties,” he said.
If not going out to bars, the governor indicated the culprit “could be Memorial Day celebrations, or another type of gathering.”
He stressed the TABC issued a warning to bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
“If there are any violations of the orders, there will be a 30 day suspension of the liquor license for the next violation, after that there would be a 60 day suspension of their liquor license.”
The governor also talked about older Texans who are at-risk.
The state continues to test people in prisons and nursing homes; some of the most vulnerable in the community. Abbott pointed to June 10 results in which Jefferson Co. (Beaumont) had 537 new cases (from various prisons there). Normally, that county had 12-15 new cases each day.
Still, Abbott’s tone was positive, promising that anyone hospitalized with the disease will always have a bed.
Currently there are 2,518 people statewide are in hospitals under treatment for the coronavirus. The state has 14,993 hospital beds available statewide and 1,675 available ICU beds with 5,869 available ventilators statewide.
“We are better prepared to deal with COVID-19 today than we were in March and April,” he said before reminding people about the importance of prevention.
“Three strategies that everyone can use that will go a long way to slowing and reducing the spread of COVID-19. One is to wear a mask, use frequent hand washing, maintain safe social distancing,” said Abbott. “You cannot get COVID-19 by walking around, it is exchanged by getting close to somebody where it can be transmitted.”
Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD and Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd also weighed in during the press conference.
“We are seeing more cases — we expected that — but it’s an uptick at a manageable level,” stressed Dr. Hellerstedt.
Abbott said that another new high with the number of people who test positive for COVID-19 in Texas. “Today’s number is going to be 2,622,” said Abbott. “There are some explanations for why the numbers are so high.”
Abbot addressed the higher number in Collin County. “One reason for that is because some tests came back from an assisted living facility in Collin County — which obviously is of concern,” said Abbott. “But as we have proven in other regions across the state of Texas, when we have a high level of positivity in something like an assisted living facility, we are able to surge resources into that facility to get it contained and have that number reduced back down to zero.”
Abbott also said that some reporting delays in Hays County increased the number as well, reporting several days of cases on one day.