WATCH: Gov. Abbott, group of state officials hold COVID-19 press conference

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott (Photo by Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images)

AUSTIN, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, along with other state officials, will held a press conference at 12 p.m. Thursday to address the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response.

The governor was joined by:

  • Lt. Governor Dan Patrick
  • Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen
  • DSHS Commissioner John Hellerstadt, M.D.
  • Texas Department of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd
  • Health and Human Services Commission Executive Commissioner Cecile Young
  • UT System Executive Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs John Zerwas, M.D.

Governor Abbott announced that the number of active COVID-19 cases in Texas have been cut in half since July. This was credited by all speakers to the individual efforts of citizens to limit the spread of the virus through staying home when sick, social distancing whenever possible, wearing face coverings, and practicing general hygiene.

Governor Abbott explained that going forward, the policy of each individual hospital district expanding reopening will depend on whether or not the district in question has maintained hospitalization rates for COVID-19 under 15% for seven consecutive days.

Out of the 22 hospital districts throughout the state, three were labelled by Abbott as, “in the danger zone.”;

  • The Rio Grande Valley
  • Laredo
  • Victoria

Otherwise, other areas of Texas will see expanded opening capacities and regulations starting next week.

On Monday, Sept. 21, businesses that will be able to open to 75% from 50% capacity include;

  • All retail businesses
  • Restaurants
  • Offices
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Museums and libraries
  • Gyms

Hospitals will also be able to conduct previously restricted procedures and surgeries.

On Sept. 24, essential caregiver visits, with health protocols and a lack of COVID-19 cases, will be authorized in assisted living facilities, including;

  • Nursing homes
  • State assisted living centers
  • Other long-term care facilities

DSHS Commissioner John Hellerstadt, M.D., insisted that the main priority regarding COVID-19 is prevention.

Citizens were also reminded by Texas Department of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, that it is currently hurricane season. Kidd encourages all families to have a plan for weather or other emergencies.

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