Updated Jun 25, 2020 - Health

Texas pauses its reopening as coronavirus cases surge

Customers sit outside on the patio at Eight Row Flint in Houston on May 22. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Texas is pausing its phased economic reopening in an effort to battle the state's surging coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Thursday.

The state of play: Abbott said the move "will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase," but allowed businesses — including restaurants and bars — already open under the state's guidelines to remain in operation.

  • Texas reported a record number of coronavirus cases in a 24-hour span twice so far this week, per the state's health department.

The big picture: The news comes after Abbott also announced the state would again suspend elective surgeries in Harris, Dallas, Bexar and Travis counties, which include the cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, respectively.

  • Houston's Texas Medical Center reported that 97% of intensive care beds were occupied as of Wednesday. 27% of those were coronavirus patients.
  • Abbott previously called for a ban on elective surgeries in March, before lifting it in April.

What he's saying: "As Texas faces a rise in COVID-19 cases, we are focused on both slowing the spread of this virus and maintaining sufficient hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients," Abbott said.

  • "These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19 and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients."
  • "As we work to contain this virus, I urge all Texans to do their part to help contain the spread by washing their hands regularly, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing."
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