Texas Governor Greg Abbott is being forced to look for help outside the state to deal with the state’s latest surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
On the same day that the Dallas school district issued a mask mandate in defiance of the governor’s executive order banning such requirements, Abbott was forced to admit Texas is unable to handle the latest upswing in coronavirus infections on its own. His office issued a statement revealing a series steps the state is taking. They include having the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to hire staffing agencies to gather medical personnel from other states to assist Texas health care facilities with COVID-19 operations.
The Governor has also asked state hospitals to voluntarily postpone any elective medical procedures in which a delay will not result in loss of life or the deterioration of a patient’s condition. This is being done to make room in hospitals for COVID-19 patients.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and DSHS will also open additional COVID-19 antibody infusion centers in across the state. These infusion centers will treat COVID-19 patients who do not need hospitalization with therapeutic drugs that can prevent their condition from worsening and requiring hospital care.
Doing so will help hospitals keep bed open for patients who are most in need of immediate care. The existing infusion center in Lubbock will expand capacity later this week, and DSHS will launch five new such centers across Texas, starting with a facility in San Antonio on Tuesday.
While the press release is written to put the governor’s actions in a proactive light, the fact of the matter is that he has, much like his fellow Republican governor in Florida, Ron DeSantis, actively fought against preventative methods versus the delta strain of the virus for weeks.
As infection and hospitalization numbers have jumped sharply across Texas the past few weeks, officials in major cities like Austin and San Antonio have asked the governor to relax the rules he imposed earlier this year blocking local officials from imposing mask or vaccine mandates. Thus far, Abbott has refused to pull back on those rules.