AUSTIN, TX – In a Monday evening interview with KFDM News, Governor Greg Abbott addressed several issues relating to the coronavirus, specifically the call from local judges and mayors who are seeking more authority to address the pandemic in their cities and towns.
According to Abbott, many local authorities should focus on taking care of their citizens instead of demanding more power. Several counties have announced they would not be enforcing the governor’s latest executive order to the fullest extent while others are seeking more extensive measures.
“If you look at either the county judge or mayors who are asking for more authority to take action or to really shut things down completely back into lockdown mode that would really force Texans into poverty, I found one thing to be consistent,” said Abbott. “All of these local officials who are asking to shut Texas back down, they have absolutely refused to enforce the current executive orders already in place. “
Abbott urged local officials to ensure the safety of their communities and be present in the statewide effort to keep Texans safe.
“What they need to show is action, not absenteeism. They need to show up and enforce the law as it is before they are given any further authority. They ask for more and more, but they do absolutely nothing.”
Abbott defended the executive order that made masks mandatory across the state when people are congregating in public spaces. He argued the mask mandate could be an effective tool in the fight against COVID-19.
“Every single one of these executive orders that have been issued, were done based upon the advice of doctors to ensure that if these executives were enforced as local authorities have had the ability to do so, it would stop the spread of the coronavirus. If local officials enforce the mask order it will slow the spread of the coronavirus. They just now need to step up and begin to enforce the orders already in place.”
Abbott also addressed the ICU bed capacity that continues to cause concern in communities that have seen an uptick in coronavirus cases. According to Abbott, Bexar County, Nueces County, the Rio Grande Valley, and Midland /Odessa have reported that more than 60 percent of their ICU beds are currently occupied by patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
When asked about the possibility of kids returning to school in the fall, Abbott reminded the public that according to pediatricians, students need to be in school for their mental and social well-being.
“If at all possible, we want to make sure that child will begin the school year or at least spend a large part of the school year in a school setting with teachers and students. that said we are putting public health first and flexibility second as It concerns education,” said Abbott.
“What I mean by that is that we don’t want students, parents, and teachers to be in a setting where COVID-19 can be spreading and compromising of any of them or all of them. As a result, we will remain flexible ensuring that the type of education environment will be provided to make sure we achieve that health, and that would include online learning like we what concluded the last school year with.”