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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced several new initiatives Monday to help address a surge in COVID-19 infections, including asking hospitals to delay nonessential medical procedures in order to free up hospital beds for COVID-19 patients, and requesting out-of-state medical personnel to come help with the surge in cases.

Why it matters: Even as Abbott now makes moves to counter the coronavirus surge, he remains staunchly opposed to public health measures that would mitigate the virus' spread.

State of play: Out-of-state healthcare workers will be brought in to bolster COVID-19 operations, a reversal from the state's policy in July, notes the Texas Tribune.

  • Abbott also instructed state agencies to open more COVID-19 antibody infusion centers across the state to treat COVID-19 patients with therapeutic drugs.
  • Abbott also directed state agencies to "increase vaccination availability across the state," per the press release.

The big picture: The new measures did not include a reversal of Abbott's opposition to public health restrictions.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 18, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Minnesota offers cash and chance at $100K scholarship as vaccine incentive for teens

Expand chart
Data: Minnesota COVID-19 Response; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Minnesota is offering new incentives to shot-wary teens in an effort to boost the state's COVID-19 vaccination rates.

Driving the news: 12 to 17 year olds who get both doses over the next six weeks will receive a $200 Visa gift card, Gov. Tim Walz's administration announced Monday.

  • Kids vaccinated during this period can also enter a lottery for one of five $100,000 scholarships to attend any of the state's public or private colleges or universities.

Why it matters: Public health officials say increasing vaccination rates among young Minnesotans is key to curbing spread of the virus, especially in schools.

Florida's secret delta toll

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Roughly 4,500 Tampa Bay residents — an average of about 36 per day — died from COVID-19 over the four months the Florida Department of Health did not share daily pandemic information with citizens.

Driving the news: The data is now available and gives a clearer picture of the heartbreaking toll of the latest record-breaking spikes from the delta variant — which is only now subsiding — between June and October.