By Hector Montemayor-Perez
SAN MARCOS, Texas – The Hays County Local Health Department has reported four new COVID-19 cases in Hays county, bringing the active cases to 67. However, 26 more cases have come back negative, and five cases have recovered.
Gov. Greg Abbot held a press conference today issuing three new executive orders. These orders emphasize attempts by the governor to reopen the state of Texas while maintaining efforts to battle COVID-19.
The first executive order established a “Strike Force” to open Texas. The strike force consists of many medical experts and private and public leaders who will advise the Governor on safety and strategically reopen the state of Texas.
“Texans are battling a colossal challenge — an invisible enemy that has tested our lives and our livelihoods—but overcoming challenges is part of who we are as Texans” Gov. Abbott said.
The second executive order relates to the reopening of select services and activities in Texas. The order will allow non-essential businesses in Texas to reopen April 24 as long as they adopt a “Retail-To-Go” model.
According to the press release, “Under this model, reopened establishments are required to deliver items to customer’s cars, homes or other locations to minimize contact.”
The second executive order also requires schools — including public, private, and higher education institutions — to remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. However, teachers are allowed to go into classrooms for video instruction, administrative duties and to clean out their classrooms.
The third executive order relates to hospital capacity and personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for the COVID-19 response. The order extended the postponement of surgeries and procedures not medically necessary or non-life-threatening procedures.
However, there are two exceptions. One, procedures that don’t take up any PPE or deplete hospital capacity while still being in accordance with accepted standards of clinical practice can continue. Second, any surgery or procedure performed in a licensed health care facility that will reserve at least 25% of its hospital capacity for treatment of coronavirus patients that will not request any PPE from any public source.
Gov. Abbott also directed state parks to reopen on April 20 as long as they operate with strict guidelines to reduce transmission of COVID-19.