AUSTIN, Texas - On Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott addressed the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in the state.
“To state the obvious, COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas and it must be corralled," Abbott said.
From May 15 to 31, Texas averaged approximately 1,200 new positive cases a day. Between June 17 and June 22, the average jumped to roughly 3,600 a day.
On average, there were more than 1,700 hospitalizations per day in the second half of May, from May 15 to 31. The daily average from June 17 to June 21 is 3,100. The positivity rate has nearly doubled, from approximately 4.5 percent in late May, to 9 percent Monday.
Still, Abbott maintained that “closing down Texas again will always be the last option.” He is asking Texans to practice good hygiene and stay six feet apart and wear a mask when that’s not possible.
“I know some people feel that wearing a mask is inconvenient and like an infringement of freedom, but I also know that wearing a mask will help us to keep Texas open,” he said.
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The sudden spike in cases began after Memorial Day. State officials are trying to stop another wave with the Fourth of July around the corner.
“We are at a very crucial point in time, you can see the data the trends are going up in a way we need to get control of.” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Department of State Health Services.
Abbott said the state is surging testing in areas that may be hotspots, working with the Texas National Guard and CDC.
“We really are at a point where we need to recover what I feel is a sense of community we had in the beginning of COVID-19. We are still all in this together Texas,” stressed Hellerstedt.
When asked if he would consider rolling back some of the state’s reopening guidelines, Abbott said he didn’t think it would be necessary but with “the way that hospitalizations are spiking, the way that daily new cases are spiking surely the public can understand that if those spikes continue, additional measures are gonna be necessary to make sure that we maintain the health and safety of the people of the state of Texas.”
Texas Democrats put out a statement after the briefing saying “We’re left wondering what our suffering was for when our governor turns his back on those who are desperate and dying, refuses to offer solutions, and continues to lie about this pandemic. In every single way, by every single metric, Governor Abbott and Republicans have failed.”
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.