AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Disturbed by the recent uptick of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Texas and calling the recent spread an “unacceptable rate,” Governor Greg Abbott urged Texans to follow CDC guidelines and wear a mask.

While not requiring it, he said Monday afternoon,”I know some people think wearing a mask is inconvenient or an infringement on freedom, but I also know it will keep Texas open.”

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Gov. Abbott said if the positive test rate or hospitalization rates increases too much there, are strategies to reduce them without having to close down Texas economy.

Gov. Greg Abbott (CBS 11)

“Closing down Texas again will always be the last option,” he said. “When you go out, you should wear a face covering or face mask.”

Gov. Abbott said in the last four or five days, hospitalizations have averaged more than 3,200 per day in Texas. He said COVID-19 is spreading at “unacceptable rate” and must be stopped.

“We are surging testing in areas that may be hotspots. We are working with the CDC on this effort,” he said.

Gov. Abbott also said in reminding people to social distance, wash their hands often and wear masks, “COVID hasn’t suddenly gone away, but neither has our ability to slow the spread of it.”

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Gov. Abbott was asked during the news conference, why he doesn’t require everyone to wear masks in public.

He explained as he has before, there needs to be different rules throughout the vast geography of the state.

He said what may be needed in the city of Austin not the same as Austin County.

He said flexibility is necessary among 254 counties.

However, he didn’t rule out another state shutdown if things get a lot worse.

Abbot said if the state were to “experience another doubling of those numbers over the next month, that would mean we are in an urgent situation” where tougher measures would be required.

Gov. Abbott said Abbott said July 4th events, which are allowed under his order, are still up to local governments on whether or not to have them.

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Several annual July 4th events in North Texas were cancelled in recent weeks due to COVID-19.