Texas suspends elective surgeries in four counties as COVID-19 cases surge

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order Thursday suspending elective surgeries in four counties where surging COVID-19 outbreaks threaten to overwhelm hospitals.

The order takes effect Friday at midnight in Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties, which hold some of the state’s largest cities.

All hospitals are ordered to postpone surgeries or procedures that are not “immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“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,” Abbott said in a statement.

“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.”

COVID-19 hospitalizations reached a new high of 4,389 in Texas Wednesday, continuing a nearly two-week streak of record-breaking numbers.

Ninety-seven percent of ICU beds at Texas Medical Center in Harris County are full and the hospital could exceed its capacity as soon as Thursday.

A record-high 5,550 coronavirus cases were reported in the state Wednesday, marking the second day in a row the number of cases exceeded 5,000.

The percentage of tests coming back positive is also continuing to increase, a sign of a growing outbreak.