Governor Abbott Expands Capacity For Certain Services In Texas, Announces Guidance For Nursing Home, Long-Term Care Visitations
Today, Gov. Abbott held a press conference to discuss the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas. He noted the positivity rate continues to decrease across the state because Texans are staying home when they are sick, social distancing, wearing masks and practicing good hand washing hygiene. The governor expects Texas to receive millions of rapid 15 minute COVID tests in the next month, which will play a large role in keeping the spread of COVID-19 down.
Hospital capacity remains the most accurate metric we have in evaluating COVID-19. When hospitalizations are high, the state needs to react and put in place restrictions. When hospitalizations are down, the state can implement reopening policies.
Because hospitalizations are down in most regions in Texas, the governor announced the loosening of some restrictions in 19 out of 22 hospital regions in Texas. In Trauma Service Areas where COVID-19 hospitalizations are less than 15% of all hospitalizations, the region can increase its capacity restrictions from 50% to 75% for retail, restaurants, libraries and office buildings beginning Monday, September 22. In these regions, beginning September 24, nursing home facilities can also allow a primary caregiver to visit a patient. Bars throughout Texas must remain closed.
Effective immediately in regions where hospitalizations for COVID are less than 15% of all hospitalizations, there are no restrictions on elective procedures. All hospitals, however, must reserve at least 10% of their capacity for COVID-19 treatment. Individual hospitals within a hospital system consisting of more than one member hospital may reserve less than 10 percent capacity, so long as the hospital system’s cumulative reserved capacity within the same Trauma Service Area is at least 10%.
Regions with more than 15% COVID hospitalizations, including the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Victoria, cannot expand their restrictions. This includes: Calhoun, Cameron, DeWitt, Goliad, Hidalgo, Jackson, Jim Hogg, Lavaca, Starr, Victoria, Webb, Willacy and Zapata counties.