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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Gov. Abbott announces phasing in of data driven state-wide reopening


Gov. Abbott announces COVID-19 updates for the state.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a state-wide reopening of the state has been initiated and will continue to develop based on data and advice from medical and state advisers.
As of 2:10 p.m. April 17, The Texas Department of Health and Human Services reported 17,371 total cases of COVID-19, 428 fatalities and an estimated 4,190 recovered patients. As of April 16, The Hays County Local Health Department reported eight new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to 117 and total active cases to 68.
In a press conference April 17, Abbott reported Texas had the second highest number of recoveries from the virus in the United States.
“Because of everyone’s work to slow the spread, we are beginning to see glimmers of success,” Abbott said.

Abbott announced a state-wide task force joined by a team of medical advisers, would be spearheading the reopening of Texas. 

“They will work together to develop a medical architecture to comprehensively test and trace COVID-19, that will allow Texas to safely and strategically return to work and other activities while we wait for the vaccines that will end COVID-19,” Abbott said.
Abbott reported he had been working with the team to determine next steps and is in the process of making recommendations. Abbott said the state’s first openings will include minimal or no threat to expanding COVID-19 and additional openings for the state will be announced April 27. Abbott states: “…further openings will be announced in May when it is determined that the infection rates continue to decline and when testing capacities are sufficient to test and contain COVID-19.”

“A more strategic approach is required so that we don’t re-open only to have to close again,” Abbott said.
Orders mandated by the Governor or are soon to be mandated by the Governor: 

  • Effective April 22, current restrictions on surgeries will be loosened. Abbott reports this will allow doctors to continue diagnostic tests for cancer among other practices. 
  • Abbott believes all retailers should be able to perform “retail-to-go” by next Friday, which will enable Texans to access more retailers while also minimizing contact with others.
  • Abbott reports all state parks will be reopened on Monday, visitors will be mandated to wear face masks and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet if they are not part of the same household.
  • Abbott reports that school classrooms are closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, this includes all public, private and higher education institutions.

Abbott was joined by Commissioner of the Department of State Health Services Dr. John W. Hellerstedt who said the state-wide team of medical and economic advisers offer a wide array of experience and that Texans should be encouraged by the progress the state has made.

“We can do it, I think we see around us that we have slowed the progression of COVID-19, we may not be quite over the hump, but we should take great satisfaction and be very encouraged by the progress we made so far,” Hellerstedt said. “COVID-19 did not explode, COVID-19 did not meet the worst predictions that were out there, and it’s because of the actions of Texans.”

Lt. Dan Patrick, who was a guest on Fox News Host Tucker Carlson’s show March 23 and was quick to say that Texans and the rest of the country needed to “get back to work,” took a different approach in unifying behind the Governor’s message of togetherness and cooperation.

“I just want to tell Texans that we have this great opportunity to lead the country, in essence lead the world with the tenth largest economy, to really open up our economy, it’s really important we not let our guard down, we still have to focus on the social distancing issues, we have to respect each other as we have and we have to be safe first,” Patrick said.

New plans announced April 27 will be based on how well COVID-19 is controlled in Texas. Government officials will consider the possibility of opening more venues that can enforce safe social distancing practices. One of the things Abbott said will be considered on April 27 is the elimination of the stay-at-home policy. Abbott said this will default the state to only encouraging people to stay at home in Texas and the decision will be driven by data.
Individuals concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19 are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider or the Hays County Local Health Department at 512.393.5520. For additional information about COVID-19, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services or the Centers for Disease Control website.
The University Star’s COVID-19 coverage can be found here.

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