Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a grim warning on Thursday night as COVID-19 caseload continue to skyrocket in his state.
“I gotta tell you, I think the numbers are going to look worse as we go into next week,” Abbott said during an interview on local Fox News affiliate FOX 26. “And we need to make sure that there’s going to be plenty of hospital beds available in the Houston area.”
The governor also stressed the importance of wearing facial coverings, though he himself had long refused to enact any kind of statewide mask requirement and even banned local Texas governments from fining those who eschewed the mask requirements in those areas.
“The last thing we want to do is shut things down again,” Abbott told FOX 26 on Thursday. “The only strategy we have to prevent that from happening is by everybody wearing a mask.”
After mounting pressure from Texas mayors, Abbott made a major backtrack and finally issued an order last week mandating that everyone wear masks. He also halted plans to further reopen businesses in the Lonestar State in late June.
Texas officials reported on Thursday that a record-breaking 15.6 percent of COVID-19 tests have come back positive over the past seven days. Additionally, the state reached a single-day record of 9,782 new cases and 105 deaths on Thursday.
Texas currently has more than 240,000 cases in total, and 3,037 people have died from the virus. The state is now facing a hospital bed shortage crisis as a result of the major spike.
On Tuesday, the Texas Department of State Health Services tweeted that “there has never been a higher risk of getting COVID-19 in Texas.”