Texas is in the red zone for COVID-19 cases, and something must be done.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force issued a report just ahead of Thanksgiving indicating that the Lone Star State is in the swing of a “full resurgence” and mitigation efforts “must intensify.”
Being in the red zone means the state is experiencing 101 or more new cases of the virus per 100,000 population — and Texas has the 21st highest rate in the country.
“The silent community spread that precedes and continues to drive these surges can only be identified and interrupted through proactive, focused testing for both the identification of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals,” the report says, adding that this must be combined with significant behavior change of all Americans.
The task force recommends making sure masks are worn in public at all times, increasing physical distancing through limited capacity in public and private indoor spaces and making sure everyone is aware of the risks associated with interacting with friends or family outside of their immediate household.
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Governor Greg Abbott is refusing to mandate some of the guidance issued by the Trump Administration, as reported by the Houston Chronicle, and recently assured the public that local officials have all necessary tools needed to slow outbreaks.
This includes requiring masks in public spaces and businesses as well as reducing occupancy in regions where the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients exceeds 15 percent of capacity for a consecutive week.
“Governor Abbott continues to rely on the data-driven hospitalization metrics used by doctors and medical experts to help inform and guide the state’s ongoing efforts to mitigate COVID-19,” said Renae Eze, a spokeswoman for Abbott, as reported by the Houston Chronicle. “As some communities experience a rise in hospitalizations, the State of Texas is working closely with local officials to quickly provide the resources needed to address these spikes and keep Texans safe, including beginning distribution of the Eli Lilly drug to treat cases of COVID-19 in the hardest hit communities and aid in reducing hospitalizations.”
According to the report, Tarrant, Dallas and El Paso counties had the highest number of cases over the last three weeks.
Harris County reported 3,646 new COVID-19 cases since Nov. 27, with Texas seeing a positive test rate of 11.33 percent.