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Abbott addresses COVID-19 surge

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With the number of Texans hospitalized with COVID-19 increasing faster than at any other point since the pandemic began early last year, Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday that he is taking a series of actions to address the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas.

“The State of Texas is taking action to combat the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and ensure that our hospitals communities have the resources and support they need to mitigate the virus,” said Abbott.

Abbott directed the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to utilize staffing agencies to provide out-of-state medical personnel to Texas health care facilities.

Additionally, Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Hospital Association asking hospitals to voluntarily postpone elective medical procedures to increase capacity for COVID-19 patients.

He also directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management and DSHS to open additional COVID-19 antibody infusion centers in communities across the state to treat COVID-19 patients who do not need hospitalization.

The existing infusion center in Lubbock will expand capacity this week, and DSHS will launch five new centers throughout Texas beginning with a facility in San Antonio on Tuesday, August 10.

Furthermore, Abbott is directing TDEM and DSHS to increase vaccination availability across the state.

“Texans can help bolster our efforts by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and it is our best defense against this virus, said Abbott.

Texans can visit covidvaccine.texas.gov to find a provider near them.

Texans can also utilize TDEM’s State Mobile Vaccine Program by calling 844-90-TEXAS and selecting Option 3 to schedule a mobile vaccine clinic to vaccinate groups of of friends, families, employees, volunteers, and more.

Homebound Texans can also call 844-90-TEXAS and choose Option 1 to request a mobile vaccine team to come to their home.

As of Sunday, DSHS reported 8,892 people were in Texas hospitals, up more than four-fold from a month ago.

The Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University reported 96,807 cases in the past week and 384 deaths. That is nearly eight times the number of new cases reported a month ago and more than double the deaths.

DSHS attributed another death to COVID-19 in Bandera County on Monday, August 9, bringing the total death count in the county to 33.

As of Monday, there were an estimated 77 COVID-19 cases in Bandera County, according to DSHS, up from last week’s count of 56.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 26 Peterson Regional Medical Center, three of which were unvaccinated. Last week’s count listed 28 hospitalized patients.