Category Archives: Coronavirus

BREAKING: Abbott Issues Executive Order Postponing Non-Medically Necessary Procedures In Some Hotspot Counties

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Thursday that ends all elective and non-medically necessary surgeries in four Texas counties.

Currently, the order applies only to Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis County. However, sources at the Governor’s office say that the executive order could be expanded without notice.

The order that was issued on Thursday will remain in effect until the Governor revokes it.

It comes on a day when Texas hospitals began urging Texans to stay at home and do their part to help reduce hospital capacity in Texas. Currently, 4,389 persons in the hospital due to COVID-19 and and estimated 50, 774 active cases of COVID-19.

Nueces County was not included on that list, though state health officials say that they are closely monitoring the number of cases throughout the state and particularly those areas that have seen significant positivity rate increases, such as Nueces County which surpassed the 1,000 mark on Wednesday.

This is a developing story.

Abbott Sends Message To County Judges In Just A Few Words

Texas governor Greg Abbott sent a message to County Judges around the state that he was going to begin the process of giving mayors some equal footing in Texas.

In a proclamation filed on June 23, 2020 Governor Abbott gave authority to limit the size of public gatherings to 100 people or less. The proclamation was made to amend section 5 of a previously declared executive order. In that new proclamation, Gov. Abbott said that he is allowing for County Judges and Mayors the ability to impose additional restrictions as they see fit.

The proclamation does two things: It allows cities and counties the opportunity to create their own local measures and it sends a message to county judges that mayors are their equal.

County Judges have repeatedly remarked about their “authority” given to them under the law. Now, Gov. Abbott has sent the message that mayors were created at least somewhat equal.

The actual showdown on the issue will likely head for the Texas Legislature when the body convenes in January and will be a showdown between two of the state’s most powerful local governing bodies—the Texas Association of Counties and the Texas Municipal League.

Many lawmakers on both sides have expressed concern about county judges who think that they are “in-charge” and have some kind of overwhelming authority over their people. Gov. Abbott sent a message that tells them to think again.

Experts are warning that the fight would likely be a long and drawn out process. But it is one that both TAC and TML seem to wiling to have under the granite rotunda.

At nearly every single press conference from big city leaders, Texans have consistently reminded about the County Judge having “authority” under the constitution and how they can make orders for all people within their county. Mayors have been rendered essentially useless—especially when the major population center in their county is their city.

There have been obvious philosophical divides from both city and county leaders across the state and while at the moment county judges do have the authority that they claim, those days seem to be seriously numbered and Gov. Abbott is in a way, demanding that the two local entities work together on creating solutions that best meet their local constituency.

Nobody knows just what a bill might look like or who will author it. However, it does seem that Harris County Republican Senator Paul Bettencourt might take the lead. Senator Bettencourt has been very vocal against Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and her handling of the coronavirus situation there.

Time will tell and as for the details on where this is heading, we will likely have to wait until filing day. But you could almost bet that it will be one of the first bills filed for next session.

Travel Advisory Issued for Texans and Others From Hotspot Locations

Officials in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced on Wednesday that they would be placing restrictions on travelers from places like Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah.

Washington State originally appeared on the joint list, but was removed.

Officials in the three states say that enforcement will be similar to that imposed by Texas early on during the coronavirus pandemic. However, each state will be responsible for their own rules and enforcement.

Those who violate the order could face thousands of dollars in fines and further punishment if they are found in violation.

A person visiting one of the three states would be required to register with state officials and remain at their intended location for the 14-day quarantine period.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that the order will even apply to the state’s own citizens who are returning home from one of these hotspot states.

Health officials in each of those states say that they are taking this measure to help prevent a resurgence of new coronavirus cases.

Parts of the European Union are even considering a travel ban on persons whose travel originated in the United States.

Governor Abbott Takes Aim On Coronavirus As Number Of Cases Continue To Increase

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott decided that he had to do something on Tuesday after the state recorded nearly 5,500 new COVID-19 cases. Abbott made new announcements that would allow further restriction on outdoor gatherings and child care centers across the state.

While COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has expanded the ability of mayors and county judges to impose restrictions on outdoor gatherings of over 100 people. Previously, this applied only to outdoor gatherings over 500 people.

In another move, Gov. Abbott also directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to enact emergency rules that provide strict health and safety standards and procedures related to COVID-19 for child care centers in Texas.

The list of requirements for Child Care providers around the state include denying entry into facilities, increased screening rues, and prohibiting so-called “family style meals.”

Gov. Abbott repealed these orders on June 12, 2020. However, he reinstated them on Tuesday.

“These are just some of the steps Texas will take to contain the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations…I urge all Texans…to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus by wearing a face mask, washing their hands often & staying 6-feet apart from others,” gov. Abbott said.

This story has been updated to include formerly repealed orders from the Governor that are now back in effect as a requirement.

While hospitalizations and positive cases rise, the concern is growing over available ICU beds in certain regions

The number of COVID-19 cases are continuing to increase at an alarming rate across Texas. Officials at the county and hospital district level have continue to be hit by public scrutiny as trust in both has long since faded due in part to private clinics complaining that testing numbers are being improperly reported, unverified counts, conflicting data, and misrepresentation that are being played to simply save face. But while trust in health district and hospital leadership may have long faded, data from the Department of State Health Services shows that there is reason to be concerned.

Nueces County falls into Trauma Region “U.” As to 2:00 pm on Tuesday, the total number of staffed hospital beds in the region were 1,272. Of those, the state reported that 306 of those beds in the region were available.

The state also reported 13 available ICU beds being available in the region and on Monday, officials said that Nueces County alone had 11 patients in the ICU.

Health District officials like to downplay those numbers, but down playing them is partly why area residents have lost all faith and trust in them.

Nurses who work at area hospitals confirm that staff and bed shortages are becoming more of a problem here locally than citizens realize.

Staff members say that they have been instructed not to reveal such information even to their own families. But on Tuesday, staff began raising their concerns after they say that the public needs to know.

The claims from local staff members are backed up by DSHS raw data that was made available on Tuesday.

The Department of State Health Services says that they do have contingency plans in place in the event that hospitals become completely overwhelmed.

Places such as convention centers and hotels and motels would be considered options, according to Dr. John Zerwas, who is leading the Governor’s strike force on the issue.

At a press conference on Monday Gov. Abbott maintained that statewide there seems to be plenty of available beds. However, late Monday night announcements began coming that several major hospitals were reporting that they were nearing capacity.

Locally, there was no direct indication either way. However, nurses and staff here are telling a different story and that is seemingly being backed up by data.

This is a developing story.

Basically they say for you to do your own contact tracing if you test positive

Annette Rodriguez, Director of the Corpus Christi – Nueces County Public Health Director said on Tuesday that residents who test positive must notify others whom they came in contact with so they quarantine for the required 14 days. Rodriguez, who is also quarantined said that those who test positive should also notify their employer.

In similar fashion to Gov. Abbott, Judge Canales, and others, Rodriguez said that those with symptoms or test positive must stay home.

She also told council on Tuesday that we should wear a face covering to protect the community, practice social distancing, stay home as much as possible, wash your hands often and don’t go to work sick.

The repeated and usual comments came on the same day that Texas recorded some 5,000 new cases statewide.

The state has fallen far short of Gov. Abbott’s previously stated 4,000 contact tracers that the state would have by the first of June. Officials with the Department of State Health Services say that the state is nowhere near that goal.

Abbott Announced That Texas Has Surpassed Another Record

Texas has hit an all-time high in new coronavirus cases, Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday, as he made the rounds on local television stations around the state.

Gov. Abbott had this warning: “take caution and stay indoors whenever possible.”

Texas recorded more than 5,000 new cases on Tuesday.

Texas has surpassed the previous high of 4,430 on Saturday. The seven-day average is now nearing 4,000, up from about 1,500 two weeks ago.

The state is seeing a major increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that began as businesses reopened last month and has accelerated since Memorial Day weekend and the recent policing protests.

Health officials say cases have particularly peaked among younger adults, who have healthier immune systems than older Texans but are still susceptible to death or prolonged illness.

“We want to make sure everyone reinforces the best safe practices of wearing a mask, hand sanitation, maintaining safe distance, but importantly, because the spread is so rampant right now, there’s never a reason for you to have to leave your home unless you need to go out,” Abbott said on KBTX. “The safest place for you is at your home.”

Talking Points: Governor Abbott Held A Press Conference On Monday Here Are Some Key Talking Points

1. “Closing down Texas again will always be the last option.”

2. “If you are at risk or if you are sick you should stay home. You should frequently sanitize your hands. You should maintain safe distances from others when you do go out And when you do go out, you should wear a face covering or a face mask.”

3. “Our early goal was to slow the spread of the coronavirus to prevent our hospitals from being overrun. We succeeded in that early goal…As we gather today, hospitals continue to have abundant capacity to treat patients with COVID-19.”

4. “In the last half of May, Texas averaged about 1500 positive cases a day. In the past 5 days in June, we’ve averaged more then 3500 cases a day.”

5. “The positivity rate has gone from about 4.5% in late May, to almost 9% today.”

Texas Children’s Hospital Now Admitting Adult Patients

Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston says it is admitting adult patients.

“We are committed to doing our part to assist the city as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise,” the hospital said on Monday.

In the unheard of move, Texas Children’s says that the move was necessary.

“To help create additional capacity for adult hospitals in the area, Texas Children’s is prepared to care for adult patients. Those adults who are COVID-19 positive will be cared for in an expanded Special Isolation Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus,” the statement said.

Texas Children’s is admitting both COVID-19 adult patients & non COVID-19 adult patients. TCH says it will continue to carefully monitor the ongoing active transmission and increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the greater Houston area and across the State.

Nueces County Issues Face Covering Order Amid Political Waffling

Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales has officially signed an order requiring face coverings.

The order is set to go into effect on Friday, June 26. However, the order has not officially been filed.

The order, as it is written says that so-identified “commercial entities” including the Texas State Aquarium, grocery stores, pharmacies, big box stores (e.g., Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes and others that can be reasonable characterized as “big box” stores), and shopping malls in Nueces County (inclusive of all retail stores inside of shopping malls).

“The Health and Safety Practices for all Listed Commercial Entities mustrequire that all employees and visitors inside a Listed Commercial Entities’ business premises wear face coverings when in a space that will necessarily involve close contact (areas where six (6) feet of separation is not feasible) with others – excepting family members,” the order says.

Legal experts say that the order could very likely be challenged in court due to article 5 of the signed order, should it be filed.

The order makes the facial coverings a requirement for some businesses, but only a recommendation for some. While there has not been a direct legal opinion on such an order, some would argue that it open the door to challenge the order, which as it is written creates, one rule of order for one group of people or businesses, while excluding others from the rule.

However, Judge Canales was forced to do something.

Canales was caught waffling on the order last week when she made it clear that she would likely have an order on Friday. Come Friday, Canales said that the order could be given over the weekend or early this week. On Monday, she began hem-hawing that there would be a special meeting to allow for public comment. Judge Canales found herself in a political jam. An order of some type was going to have to be issued—one way or the other.

But she was not the only who had worked her way into a jam. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who held a press conference on Monday did nothing to enforce his previous statement that if the data showed a major increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations or positives, he would consider scaling back his re-opening of the state, Abbott waffled, too.

On Monday, Nueces County recorded another 109 cases of COVID-19 in our community. About half of the community seems to be in favor of face coverings and the other half against.

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