Instagram / @governorabbott
Gov. Greg Abbott shows off an executive order during a recent press conference.
For the third day in a row, the Lone Star State has tallied a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations — one of the key metrics Gov. Greg Abbott said he's using as he decides how quickly to reopen the economy.
As of Wednesday, 2,153 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services
. That's up from 2,056 Tuesday and 1,935 Monday. Prior to those three consecutive increases, Texas' highest number was on May 5, when 1,888 people were hospitalized for novel coronavirus infections.
Abbott ended a statewide stay-at-home order May 1, allowing some nonessential businesses to reopen. Since then, he's loosened operating restrictions in phases, enacting the most recent on June 3, when he cleared nearly all businesses to operate at 50% capacity.
State records show a 42% increase in hospitalizations since Memorial Day, which was roughly two weeks ago. Many health experts warned the holiday weekend might bring a wave of infections as people crowded beaches and public places, ignoring social-distancing guidelines.
Experts have also warned that increased travel, lax personal protective measures and the massive protests over the police killing of George Floyd may contribute to a surge in cases.
Abbott's office didn't respond to the Current
's request for comment. However, spokesman John Wittman told the Texas Tribune
"every Texan who needs access to a hospital bed will have access to a hospital bed."
At present, there are 13,600 open hospital beds across the state and testing has increased by 210% since May 1, he added.
Democratic lawmakers have accused Abbott, a Republican, of filling his reopening task force with political cronies
, lying about the state's testing record
and displaying a lack of transparency
about his reopening plans.
Last month, the governor was captured on a leaked audio recording
saying that he was aware his reopening plan would lead to a rise in infections.
“Abbott has lied, dirtied data and cherry-picked statistics to excuse his ill-advised reopening," Texas Democratic Party Communications Director Abhi Rahman said in an emailed statement. "Our governor has consistently prioritized short-term economic gains and political expediency over the advice and caution of public health experts. We are now paying the price.”
Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.