Texas Gov. Greg Abbott focused mostly on hospitals at a press conference on Tuesday as the state is starting to see an uptick in active and new coronavirus cases. Gov. Abbott took no measures to correct his course of trusting that Texans would do the right thing and avoid large crowds, wear face masks or take other social distancing precautions.
“”We’re here today to let Texans know about the abundant hospital capacity that exists,” Gov. Abbott said as he opened the press conference. It was to that end that he ultimately stuck with.
Abbott maintained that the primary cause of the increased number of cases was due in large part to persons under age of 30 who were going to large population places such as bars, celebrations and other events. gov. Abbott specifically mentioned places such as
Lubbock, Cameron and Bexar counties, which have seen major case count increases.
Governor Abbott pointed to an example of Rusk County, in East Texas. “There was a one-off in Rusk County”, Abbott said. “Typically not that many positives, but they reported 104 positives today.”
Abbott said that a majority of the cases that were returned came from tests conducted in a prison in that area.
But all of that aside, Gov. Abbott decided not to focus too much on the problem itself or the policy behind it. His main focus was hospital beds that sources close to the Governor say that he is fully aware will likely be needed.
Texas health officials reported 2,326 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and 1,254 new cases Monday. On June 12, the state saw 2,166 people in the hospital. That number increased to 2,242 on June 13 and 2,287 on June 14.
Earlier in the day Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales held a press conference that loosely resembled a “campaign stump” speech though urging area residents to continue to follow social distancing practices as confirmed positives continue to rise. Like Abbott, Judge Canales seemingly downplayed the report that Nueces County reported 24 new COVID-19 on Monday.
“These cases are from over the weekend,” Canales said. “Yes, it looks bad.”
Later in the day however, Nueces County health officials reported 31 new cases, bringing the new cumulative case count for the county to 391.
One place of major concern for health managers and members of the public is out on North Padre Island, where reports of restaurants and bars consistently appearing to be above the percentage minimums.
Governor Abbott addressed that in his press conference.
Abbott stressed that a restaurant or bar could lose their liquor license for 30 days on their first violation.
Corpus Christi has been consistently one of the worst regions in the state for the use of face coverings since the pandemic began. Health officials at the state level say that there has been what they are calling “vivid observations” of that fact, and it does concern them. However, Gov. Abbott refuses to require the use of such protective devices. He maintains that they are only a suggestion.
Judge Canales at her press conference seemed to be well aware of the fact a high number of area residents are not taking proper precautions. Time after time during her press conference on Tuesday, Judge Canales did drive home the point that she wanted people to use their personal responsibility and wear a mask, wash their hands and practice social distancing. However, while she pointed out that she could put strict guidance in place, it is highly unlikely that Governor Abbott’s office would back her up on much of it.
Mayors of nine major Texas cities sent a letter to Abbott urging him to allow them to put face mask ordered in place. Their request likely fell on deaf ears as Abbott remains in full protection mode for his earlier decisions that now appear to haunting him both personally and politically.
Nueces County officials will hold their next scheduled press conference on Wednesday. There is no word from the Governor as to when he will address the state once again.