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COVID-19 numbers doubling, reports Gov. Abbott

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott points to charts showing that the number of positive cases of COVID-19 has doubled in Texas in June over May. At a media conference in the state Capitol on Monday, June 22, he urged people to wear masks but said he will not make that an order. Screen capture image

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is spreading at an unacceptable rate and wearing face masks is the best way to slow that spread, said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a media conference Monday, June 22. He stopped short, however, of issuing a statewide mask mandate.

“I know that some people feel that wearing a mask is inconvenient or is like an infringement of freedom,” Abbott said. “I also know that wearing a mask will help us to keep Texas open.”

The governor brought out three graphs to display the rising numbers. The first showed an upward tick in the daily number of people testing positive. In the last half of May, 1,500 positive cases were recorded a day in Texas. In the past five days of June, over 3,500 cases have been recorded — more than double the previous number.

The positivity rate — the percentage of tests that come back positive versus the number of people tested — increased from 4.5 percent in late May to 9 percent the day of the media conference.

Finally, the rise in hospitalizations, which averaged 1,600 a day in late May, are now averaging more than 3,200 a day.

“COVID-19 has not gone away, but neither has our ability to slow the spread,” Abbott said. “We can have both. We can protect Texans’ lives while restoring their livelihoods.”

COVID-19 can be conquered through proper hygiene and by “recovering the sense of community we had early on,” he said. “We still need to protect ourselves and others. We are still in this together.”

Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales is expected to announce a mandatory mask order in the next five days. She has been in self-isolation after exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19. She plans to return to work on Thursday, June 25, for the next County Commissioners meeting. While in quarantine, she said she is working on a plan to mandate masks “in the right way for Nueces County.”

“I believe (a mandatory face mask order) is needed, and I’d like to get one as soon as possible,” she said in a video message to county residents. “But I want to do it right. I want an order that is right for Nueces County. And the order will and can come out as soon as we can do that correctly. Until then, I’m going to ask all citizens and businesses to act responsibility and conduct yourself as if we had an order in place.”

In his media conference Monday, Gov. Abbott said masks are the best way to keep businesses open.

“We must find ways to return to our daily routines as well as finding ways to co-exist with COVID-19,” he said. “Closing down Texas again will always be the last option.”

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

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