SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – While the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott says the state has “abundant hospital capacity” to treat coronavirus patients.
Abbott on Tuesday announced that the daily number of positive cases was 2,622, but he said there’s no cause for alarm.
“We are in the middle of a very short period of time where all of us have to coexist with COVID-19,” said Abbott. ” This is going to continue to be the case for at least a few more months until we have medicines that are able treat people who test positive for COVID-19, and until we have medicines that are able to prevent people from getting COVID-19.”
Abbott said Collin County, which averages below 50 a day, reported 120 cases Tuesday. He said some of those cases came from an assisted living facility. Hays County reported 265 cases Tuesday, the highest number of positive cases since the pandemic began, but the governor noted that Hays County reported zero positive cases on Sunday and Monday.
Several counties in Texas are reporting a majority of the number of cases since early June are patients under the age of 30.
“It could be Memorial Day celebrations. It could be a bar setting. It could be some other type of gathering,” said Abbott.
TABC has warned bar owners and restaurants that serve alcohol that if there are any violations of the coronavirus protocols and safety standards, their liquor license will be suspended for 30 days. If there’s a second violation, the liquor license will be suspended for 60 days.
“There have been pictures that I have seen and others have seen about these bar-type settings, where clearly the standards are not being followed,” the governor said, adding that he backs TABC enforcement of those safety standards.
Abbott also said the best way to prevent getting COVID-19 or spreading it is to stay home, which is especially important for people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions. He also stressed the importance of wearing a face covering in public.
“There are three strategies that everyone can use that will go a long way to slowing and reducing the spreading of COVID-19 –one is to wear masks, two is to use frequent hand sanitizing, and three is to maintain these safe social distancing practices,” said Abbott.
He explained that COVID-19 is transmitted by close contact, so if you maintain social distancing and wear a face covering, you can keep from getting the virus and reduce the chances of transmitting it to someone else. Abbot says many people who have the novel coronavirus may unknowingly be spreading it to those who may be at high risk.
“That’s why it is so important for you to wear a face mask when you go out to make sure that if you happen to be an asymptomatic COVID-19 person, that you are doing the right thing by wearing a face mask so that you’re not spreading COVID-19 to somebody else,” Abbott said.
However, he doubled down on his decision to not mandate the wearing of masks.
After the recent surge in the number of positive cases in the San Antonio area, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff sent Abbott a letter asking him to allow local municipalities to penalize people for not wearing a face covering when social distancing is not possible.
The governor on Tuesday said it’s a matter of personal responsibility. Abbott maintains that throwing someone in jail or fining them for not wearing a face covering is wrong.