Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order Thursday morning suspending elective surgeries in four counties to ensure bed availability for COVID-19 patients.
The governor issued the order effective Friday night at 11:59 p.m. for hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties. The order does not, so far, impact any other North Texas county.
The order was issued after the state set a new high record for COVID-19 hospitalizations for 13 days straight. On Wednesday, the number of COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals reached 4,389. On June 1, the number of people hospitalized in the state for COVID-19 was 1,784.
"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," said Abbott. "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."
In the last seven days, Texas has added 29,586 new COVID-19 cases, an average of 4,227 new cases per day.
With the order, Abbott has directed all hospitals in those counties to "postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient's physician."
Abbott can, through the proclamation, can add or subtract from the list of counties included in the Executive Order to address surges in hospitalizations that may arise in other parts of the state.