DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott says increases in hospitalizations and the rate of people testing positive for COVID-19 are a concern, but "closing down Texas again will always be the last option." Abbott met with reporters Monday afternoon.
He says the number of new cases has increased from 1,500 people a day in May to more than 3,200 people a day over the past week.
"Our goal is to keep Texans out of hospitals and reduce the number of Texans who test positive," Abbott says. "COVID hasn't suddenly gone away, but neither has our ability to slow the spread of it."
Abbott says the increase in cases is a concern, but he hopes people will follow guidelines for social distancing and capacity limits.
"I know some people feel that wearing a mask is inconvenient or it is an infringement of freedom, but I also know that wearing a mask will help keep Texas open," he says.
Abbott says the rate of people testing positive has jumped from 4.5% in late May to more than 9%. The World Health Organization says the "positivity rate" should remain below 5% for at least two weeks before governments allow more parts of the economy to reopen.
Hospitals in North Texas say they still have available beds. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services says 3,711 confirmed COVID-19 patients are in hospitals across the state now. Hospitals in North Texas have 988 patients.
North Texas hospitals also reported 3,346 available beds Monday, 415 available ICU beds and 1,303 available ventilators.