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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Hints on Twitter That He Could Reveal New COVID-19 Reopening Plans Next Week

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2020 at 10:44 AM

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a recent press event. - COURTESY PHOTO / GOVERNOR'S OFFICE
  • Courtesy Photo / Governor's Office
  • Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a recent press event.
In a tweet, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reiterated his resistance to lockdowns and hinted that he'll next week outline "next steps" in reopening businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I said last month that Texas wouldn’t have anymore lockdowns — despite demands from mayors [and] county judges insisting on lockdowns," Abbott tweeted Monday night in response to a Twitter user who asked for more information on the state's reopening plans.

Pointing to a drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since a July executive order mandating the use of masks, the governor added "I hope to provide updates next week about next steps."

Abbott has faced criticism from local officials and health experts for charging too rapidly into reopening businesses. Critics also argue he's tied the hands of municipal officials as they struggled to curb the spread of the coronavirus in their own communities.

While Texas' seven-day average positivity rate — the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive — has declined from an August 11 high of 24.5%, it still stood at 11.96% on August 30, the most recent data available.

That August 30 number is higher than the 10% rate Abbott previously called a "warning flag."

Hospitalization rates have also fallen in recent weeks, sliding to 4,203 on August 31 from a July 22 high of 10,893.

Despite the drop, San Antonio is still rated as "high" on the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council's hospital stress score, and medical facilities remain overwhelmed in the hard-hit Rio Grande Valley.

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