Gov. Abbott pleads with doctors to postpone elective surgeries after banning mask mandates in Texas

Gov. Abbott pleads with doctors to postpone elective surgeries after banning mask mandates in Texas
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in 2016, Wikimedia Commons

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is calling on hospitals in Texas to postpone elective procedures just months after he issued an executive order banning mask mandates across the state.

On Monday, August 9, the Republican governor submitted a letter to the Texas Hospital Association asking medical professionals to consider postponing elective procedures for the foreseeable future.

"I am asking Texas hospitals to take steps to ensure the availability of adequate hospital capacity to care for COVID-19 patients," Abbott wrote. "Among other strategies, hospitals could voluntarily postpone medical procedures for which delay will not result in loss of life or a deterioration in the patient's condition."

Abbott also suggested the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) increase vaccine availability and implement additional antibody infusion facilities to treat COVID patients who do not require hospitalization for recovery.

The letter continued, "Hospitals could also refer some COVID-19 patients to infusion sites, thereby freeing up hospital beds for more serious cases. By taking these voluntary measures, it is my hope that hospitals can avoid the need for an order from TMB under Senate Bill 968."

The governor's office also released a statement addressing the resurgence of COVID in the state as he noted that the DSHS will be bringing in out-of-state professionals to assist with mitigating the rapidly spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus.

"The Governor is also directing TDEM and DSHS to increase vaccination availability across the state and encourages all Texans to get the COVID-19 vaccine," the statement read.

"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. "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."

Abbott's latest directives follow his executive order banning cities across the state from incorporating mask mandates. Several hospital systems in Texas have already reached capacity for intensive care unit (ICU) beds as others are nearing capacity due to the surge in Delta variant COVID cases. Texas is also one of three states to report Lambda variant COVID cases.

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