Gov. Abbott: State looking at where people are catching COVID-19 to determine future restrictions

State & Regional

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As COVID-19 cases surge across Texas and reopenings of some businesses have been put on pause, Gov. Greg Abbott told KXAN future restrictions for the state will be determined, in part, by places or activities which are leading people to catch the disease.

Abbott said his Friday order that closed bars and limited restaurant capacity to 50% came about because “so many people who were testing positive for COVID-19, they were contracting it in bar-type settings.”

“I told you in advance — if the positivity rate got over 10%, I was going to take action and I did,” Abbott said.

Since the order went into effect, the Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance has announced it planned to sue the state to allow bars to remain open.

Abbott joined Robert Hadlock and Sydney Benter on KXAN News at 6 p.m. to answer questions as the state comes off a difficult week: Texas beat its own record for most new cases reported in a day three times last week, and during the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing Friday Dr. Deborah Birx included Austin in a group of metro areas that she categorized as “concerning.”

Abbott said Monday the state is looking carefully at data — including the number of people testing positive, hospitalizations and the positivity rate — to inform its actions, including the executive order related to bars and restaurants and another on Thursday suspending hospital elective surgeries in four of the state’s largest counties, including Travis County.

“We also want to see the outcome of the shutdowns that were just announced. Hopefully, the shutdowns will be sufficient to bend the curve of COVID-19. If not, we all need to understand additional actions will be necessary.”

Abbott said the state will make sure all resources will be available to communities that need any kind of overflow capacity when it comes to hospitals, saying his “primary goal” is to make sure every patient with COVID-19 has a bed.

He also said two-thirds of the state now has mask requirements — that includes a number of cities in Williamson County that just imposed requirements Monday — and that wearing a mask “is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

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