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Gov. Greg Abbott shows off his reopening plan during a recent press conference.
Faced with an avalanche of new COVID-19 cases, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order
Thursday morning suspending all elective surgeries at hospitals in San Antonio and Texas' three other largest metro areas.
The order suspends any surgeries in Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties that aren't immediately medically necessary.
“These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19, and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients," Abbott said in an emailed statement.
During a Wednesday press briefing, San Antonio health officials said 555 COVID-19 patients are now hospitalized locally, up from 518 Tuesday. Only 25% of the city's staffed hospital beds remain available.
Also on Wednesday, Texas recorded its second consecutive day of more than 5,000 new cases.
In his statement, Abbott also urged Texans to wear masks, wash their hands and maintain social distance. However, Thursday's order did not make masks mandatory.
In a separate Wednesday morning release, Abbott said he's paused any further phases to reopen the state's economy. However, the announcement doesn't include a reversal for any of his earlier orders. Under those, virtually all businesses in the state can operate at 50% or more capacity.
Critics have charged that Abbott, while warning about the dangers of spiking COVID-19 numbers, has put residents at risk by declining to dial back his aggressive reopening plan or issue a statewide order requiring masks.
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