Texas presses 'pause' on economic reopening, governor orders all bars to close as virus cases spike

The spike in Texas cases is part of a large outbreak across the South, Southwest

Last Updated:
June 26, 2020 - 5:53pm

Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order Friday closing all Texas bars and placing some restrictions on outdoor gatherings, as coronavirus case numbers spike in the southern state. 

According to data from Johns Hopkins, Texas reported 6,426 new cases on Thursday.

Abbott, a Republican, has also announced that Texas will press "pause" on the continued plan to open the economy as the state combats a "massive outbreak" of the virus. 

"As we experience an increase in both positive COVID-10 cases and hospitalizations, we are focused on strategies that slow the spread of this virus while also allowing Texans to continue earning a paycheck to support their families," he said.

"The last thing we want to do is go backwards and close down businesses," he continued. "This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business."

Abbott also paused elective surgeries at hospitals in four major counties, in a move meant to give hospitals the ability to extend their capacity as needed. I

Intensive care units in Houston are nearing 100% capacity as coronavirus cases begin to spike – though normal occupancy hovers at about 80%. And at Texas Medical Center, in Houston, only 27% of ICU bed patients tested positive for the virus.

The governor continued to urge Texans to take health precautions including frequent hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing. 

On Wednesday, Texas reported just over 5,500 new cases of the virus, which was its highest daily number on record. The state has suffered 2,249 coronavirus deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

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