LUBBOCK, Texas - Hospital staff across Texas are struggling to care for an increasing number of COVID patients. Governor Greg Abbott was in Lubbock Thursday, where he admitted Texas is in a state of war.
"Listen, the cavalry is coming, as it concerns COVD 19,” said Governor Abbott.
That response; includes additional medical personnel to West Texas and some metro areas experiencing a surge in hospitalizations. What isn't coming, the governor made clear, is a shutdown order.
"We don't have to have an either-or situation. Either businesses are open or businesses are closed. We don't have to choose between protecting people's lives or ending people's livelihoods, we can have both. There are safe ways and safe practices businesses can operate,” said Governor Abbott.
The governor believes local authorities already have the limited authority and tools that are needed. "Such as closing down bar settings, such as reducing occupancy capacity and other tools that local officials do have,” said the Governor.
Local business managers, who spoke to FOX 7 Austin seemed to be resigned to seeing new regional restrictions but not a statewide shutdown.
"I think it would be very hurtful, I don’t know if it would take us all the way down, but it definitely would put a crunch back in the system,” said Kevin Kohler.
Kohler manages a bistro and bar in Cedar Park. "Treading water, we've seen better days than others, mostly on the weekends, but it’s been a rough haul,” said Kohler.
The manager of 9 Rounds in Cedar Park, Blair Anderson, says if new restrictions do come, they could recover. "We did before, so I believe we could, we shut down for about 3 months, so I believe we could … we are doing pretty well, staying afloat right now," said Anderson.
The arrival of two new drugs will help protect lives and businesses according to the Governor. The treatments are similar to what President Trump was given last month. The delivery of the first approved drug treatment, made by Eli Lily has arrived in the Lubbock area. Daily shipments are to follow according to Abbott.
"The goal of this drug is to keep people out of hospitals, and this drug is being provided to the rural hospitals as well as the urban hospitals. So this will be an aid that should lead to a reduction in people being hospitalized," said Governor Abbott.
That reduction from the new drug treatment will not be happening overnight.
"I want to remind people, it’s very, very, promising, it’s very promising but it’s not magical, it still has to be given to the right group of people at the right time," said Texas Health Authority Dr. John Hellerstedt.
The governor believes the first dose of a vaccine will come to Texas before Christmas. He indicated the first to get it will be adults with medical conditions and people in nursing homes. Until everyone gets a vaccine- state officials say the best protection remains using a mask while at public gatherings.