Texas to Use Out-of-State Medical Workers as COVID Surges

Gov. Greg Abbott also asks hospitals to voluntarily postpone elective surgeries to clear up beds
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2021 8:16 AM CDT
Texas to Use Out-of-State Medical Workers as COVID Surges
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is seen at a security briefing on June 30, 2021 in Weslaco, Texas.   (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

As COVID cases surge in Texas, with some of its largest school districts defying Greg Abbott's mask mandates ban so they can combat that surge, the governor is now confronting a different problem related to the spike. On Monday, Abbott announced he'd reached out to the Texas Hospital Association, asking hospitals to "voluntarily" suspend elective procedures, as long as such postponements won't lead to "loss of life or a deterioration in the patient's condition," reports the Texas Tribune. The governor's move is meant to clear up space in the state's strained medical centers, as both the numbers of cases and hospitalizations in Texas are reaching levels not seen since the winter. Politico notes there were almost 9,600 people hospitalized on Saturday, and 28 deaths the following day, per Covid Act Now. The seven-day average for new cases was more than 13,700 on Sunday; on July 9 it was 1,700.

Abbott also announced the Department of State Health Services would tap into staffing agencies to bring in health care personnel from out to state "to assist in COVID-19 operations." "The State of Texas is taking action to combat the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and ensure that our hospitals and communities have the resources and support they need to mitigate the virus," Abbott said in a statement, which also included a directive that more antibody infusion centers be opened to help treat COVID. One thing Abbott hasn't backed off of is his refusal to allow business restrictions, or mask mandates in local jurisdictions or schools. He did note in his statement there was one thing locals could do to mitigate the state's virus mess: "Texans can help bolster our efforts by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and it is our best defense against this virus." (More Greg Abbott stories.)

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