By Emma Platoff
July 9, 2020
With cases of the new coronavirus and related hospitalizations rising at alarming rates, Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday expanded his ban on elective medical procedures to cover more than 100 counties across much of the state.
Surgeries and other procedures that are not “immediately, medically” necessary — which have already been on hold in many of the state’s biggest cities and several South Texas counties — are now barred in much of the state, from far West Texas to much of Central Texas, Southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast.
Those procedures can still take place in some, mostly rural parts of the state, including the Panhandle and the South Plains, as well as much of North and Northeast Texas, excluding Dallas County.
“We are freeing up more resources to address upticks in COVID-19 related cases,” Abbott said in a statement. “The State of Texas will continue to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of this virus and support our hospitals and health care professionals as they care for their fellow Texans.”
As of Wednesday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients hospitalized with the virus had reached a record high of 9,610 — twice as many as there were on June 25. But the pressure on hospitals is not evenly distributed around the state. Hospital capacity is currently most taxed around the state’s biggest cities, as well as most of South Texas.
The governor’s order applies to 11 of the state’s 22 Trauma Service Areas: J, K, M, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U and V, as well as Dallas County. Tarrant County is not in the proclamation.
From the Governor’s Proclamation:
Previously, Governor Abbott suspended elective surgeries at hospitals in the counties of Bexar, Cameron, Dallas, Harris, Hidalgo, Nueces, Travis, and Webb.
“The State of Texas continues to implement strategies to help ensure ample supply of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients,” said Governor Abbott. “By expanding this directive to include the counties within these 11 TSAs, we are freeing up more resources to address upticks in COVID-19 related cases. The State of Texas will continue to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of this virus and support our hospitals and health care professionals as they care for their fellow Texans. We must all come together and continue to practice social distancing, wear a face covering in public, and stay home when possible.”
Under his Proclamation, the Governor directs all hospitals in these counties to postpone 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. Through proclamation, the Governor can add or subtract from the list of counties included in his original Executive Order and subsequent Proclamations to address surges in hospitalizations that may arise in other parts of the state.
The following counties are included in the Governor’s Proclamation:
All counties within TSA J—Andrews, Brewster, Crane, Ector, Glasscock, Howard, Jeff Davis, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Ward, and Winkler counties;
All counties within TSA K—Coke, Concho, Crockett, Irion, Kimble, Mason, McCulloch, Menard, Reagan, Runnels, Schleicher, Sterling, Sutton, and Tom Green counties;
All counties within TSA M—Bosque, Falls, Hill, Limestone, and McLennan counties;
All counties within TSA O that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27—Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, San Saba, and Williamson counties;
All counties within TSA P that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27—Atascosa, Bandera, Comal, Dimmit, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kinney, La Salle, Maverick, Medina, Real, Uvalde, Val Verde, Wilson, and Zavala counties;
All counties within TSA Q that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27—Austin, Colorado, Fort Bend, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton counties;
All counties within TSA R—Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton, and Orange counties;
All counties within TSA S—Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, and Victoria counties;
All counties within TSA T that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27—Jim Hogg and Zapata counties;
All counties within TSA U that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27—Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, McMullen, Refugio, and San Patricio counties; and
All counties within TSA V that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27—Starr and Willacy counties.