AUSTIN, Texas - Over the past few days, Texas is averaging more than 3,500 new COVID-19 cases daily and setting record highs.
Gov. Greg Abbott says nine percent of Texans are testing positive for the virus, twice the rate reported at the end of May. The hospitalization rate has also doubled from 1,600 a day in late May to 3,200 a day in the last four to five days.
While Abbott said yesterday that he has faith in Texans to do the right thing when it comes to keeping one another safe by socially distancing and wearing face coverings, many Texans wanted mandated actions and orders from the governor.
Abbott is encouraging Texans to wear masks while in public but is not ordering a statewide mandate. "We do have a spike in Travis County or Austin, Texas where the mask requirement at the local level is important," he said.
For many Texans, this is frustrating and they're saying he's not doing enough to slow the spread of COVID-19. On Tuesday afternoon, #AbbottBetrayedTexas was trending on Twitter with more than 20,000 tweets.
On Tuesday evening, Abbott told FOX 7 Austin that having local officials adopt face-covering policies is the right approach. "The way that the standard is working in Travis County and in other large counties and in increasingly more and more counties, is the right strategy."
He added that while some major counties like Travis County are seeing spikes, there are other counties without any cases so there is no need for a statewide order. "What is occurring in Austin, Texas is different than what is occurring in Austin County, so a one-size-fits-all strategy for all parts of the state would not work."
Abbott says wearing a mask is one of the best things Texans can do to protect themselves. "People need to know that wearing a maks is one of the best strategies to make sure you don't get COVID-19, the only thing better would be if you don't go outside at all."
However, when asked why he recommends staying home, yet has moved forward with opening bars and restaurants, he said: "because one thing we have shown in the earlier stages of the coronavirus and in other states and even in other countries, is that we can co-exist with COVID-19, people can make a living and go back to their jobs."
Abbott said this does take people following proper guidelines and safety measures, which have not been followed by some bars across the state. However, even with some businesses not following orders, he said closing down again would be a last resort, and for Texans to continue to be as safe as possible.
Abbott also announced that outdoor gatherings would now be limited to 100 people, whereas the previous limit was 500. He is also directing the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to provide health and safety standards for child care centers in Texas.
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.