As Texas approaches 10,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations, Gov. Greg Abbott took action on Monday to slow the spread.
Abbott asked hospitals to postpone elective surgeries. He also ordered the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to utilize staffing agencies to provide medical personnel from out-of-state to Texas health care facilities to assist in COVID-19 operations and open additional COVID-19 antibody infusion centers in communities across the state.
"The State of Texas is taking action to combat the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and ensure that our hospitals and communities have the resources and support they need to mitigate the virus," Gov. Abbott said. "Texans can help bolster our efforts by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and it is our best defense against this virus. Texans can visit covidvaccine.texas.gov to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near them."
On Monday, more than 9,400 people were in Texas hospitals with COVID-19. In Kerrville, Peterson Regional Medical Center officials said the situation here was dire after more than 350 people sought treatment over the weekend.
Abbott said in a news release; he was asking hospitals to voluntarily postpone elective medical procedures, for which a delay will not result in loss of life or the deterioration of a patient's condition, to increase hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients.
One of Abbott's chief critics, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, took the governor to court on Monday over masks.
"Earlier this evening, I filed a Temporary Restraining Order and declaratory judgment in my official capacity as your Dallas County Judge against Governor Greg Abbott seeking to hold portions of GA 38 regarding mask mandates unenforceable," Jenkins said via Twitter. "I'll do all I can to protect the public health and the people of Dallas County. I hope others will join me in following the science and listening to local doctors and the CDC to act swiftly and decisively. This is about ensuring there's adequate medical resources and hospital bed capacity to take care of people with COVID and any other condition that requires medical care or hospitalization. Ultimately, it is about saving lives and saving and protecting children."
Abbott has also been active in encouraging vaccinations, but Texas still lags behind much of the country, particularly in rural counties. Kerr County ticked up almost 1% to 42.1% of its residents 12 and older vaccinated. However, that still ranked 18th among the 22 counties that make up the San Antonio region of DSHS.