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Coronavirus in Texas: Hospitals, nurses call for statewide stay-at-home order


AUSTIN — Two of the state's largest health care associations on Tuesday urged Gov. Greg Abbott to extend the orders by several Texas counties requiring residents to self-quarantine in their homes to fight the further spread of coronavirus


"The time has come for Texas to issue a statewide stay-at-home order," said a letter to the governor from the Texas Hospital Association and the Texas Nurse Association. "We urge you to implement this strict measure to prevent widespread illness in Texas."


Gov. Greg Abbott provides an update on the state's effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. He spoke in the Texas Capitol, March 28, 2020.

Gov. Greg Abbott provides an update on the state's effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. He spoke in the Texas Capitol, March 28, 2020. (Photo: Still image from pool video)


Abbott, who this month declared a statewide emergency, shuttering schools, limiting restaurant service to drive-thru and takeout and banning public gatherings of more than 10 people, has so far resisted ordering a statewide shutdown. To date, nearly half of Texas' 254 counties have seen at least one case of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, and the cases number well into the hundreds in the urban counties.


Still, large expanses of West Texas and the Panhandle had still reported no cases, even as the statewide total approaches 3,000, including 38 who have died.


But Hospital Association President Ted Shaw and Cindy D. Zolnierek, president of the Nurses Association, said in their letter the best way to keep the virus out of those rural counties and limit the further spread in the cities and suburbs is through a statewide order.


"The faster and more consistently people stay at home, the safer we all will be and the sooner our economy can rebound from this disaster." they wrote. "With surging counts and projections – and news of community pockets that are not heeding the warning to distance – a statewide stay-at-home policy will send a clear message about the seriousness of the threat. Ultimately, it will save lives."


Abbott is scheduled to brief Texans at 2 p.m. Tuesday on the state's effort to fight the spread so far. In past briefings, the governor has urged residents to continue practicing social distance and to wash hands frequently. 


Earlier Tuesday, President Donald Trump's chief coronavirus adviser said he's seeing some encouraging signs that social distancing might be helping to slow the virus.


“What we're starting to see right now is just the inklings," Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN.  "And I don't want to put too much stock on it, because you don't want to get overconfident. You just want to keep pushing in what you're doing. 


"You're starting to see that the daily increases are not in that steep incline, they're starting to be able to possibly flatten out."



By: John C. Moritz

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