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COVID-19 hospitalizations increase

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced during a media conference June 16 that he will continue to allow businesses to reopen despite record recent increases in the number of positive cases of COVID-19. Courtesy photo

The number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the upswing, but Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott said the state’s hospital capacity is still plentiful, and, therefore, he will continue reopening the state for business.

“The bottom line is this, and that is the increased capacity of hospital beds, it does raise concerns, but as shown today, there is no reason to be alarmed,” Abbott said at a media conference Tuesday, June 16, in Austin. “Even though there are more people hospitalized, we still remain at the lowest threat level in our hospital capacity.”

A presentation at the media conference by John Zerwas, a University of Texas System official, said the state’s hospital capacity is at Level 5. At that level, hospitals are able to maintain current capacities without having to expand, he said.

The day of the media conference was another record day in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. The state reported 2,622 new cases, not including 1,476 cases that came from the prison system the same day. Abbott attributed recent spikes to surges in isolated areas. He also said young people were not taking the virus seriously enough.

“(There are) certain counties where a majority of the people who are testing positive are under the age of 30,” he said. “This typically results from people going to bar-type settings.”

Currently, bars are only allowed to serve at 50 percent capacity, while restaurants can operate at 75 percent capacity. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said it would suspend liquor licenses for any establishment not following those guidelines.

The continued push to reopen business has gotten some criticism from the mayors of nine of the state’s largest cities. They have officially asked Abbott to enforce mask rules. Those cities include Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso.

Corpus Christi is not among that group. The coastal community is the eighth-largest city in the state, ranked between Arlington (seventh) and Plano (ninth), both of which are on the list of cities requesting stricter regulations from the state.

To follow the latest news on COVID-19 in Corpus Christi, check the Corpus Christi Business News' COVID-19 Resource Page.

If you think you have COVID-19, contact the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District at 361-826-7200, and a representative will give you instructions. Check the city’s webpage for more information.

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