Gov. Greg Abbott, Vice President Mike Pence urge Texans to wear face coverings

Gov. Greg Abbott was part of a press conference at UT Southwestern Medical Center. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Greg Abbott was part of a press conference at UT Southwestern Medical Center. (Community Impact Newspaper)

Gov. Greg Abbott was part of a press conference at UT Southwestern Medical Center. (Community Impact Newspaper)

Editor's note: The original photo was changed from one taken at an earlier press conference to a screenshot of today's press conference. Attendees did have masks and there was space between the attendees.

As Texas recoils some from its reopening plan, Gov. Greg Abbott urged the state’s residents on June 28 to go back to the basics of washing hands, wearing face coverings and maintaining safe distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus.

During a televised press conference at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Abbott, along with Vice President Mike Pence and White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, talked about the necessity of wearing a face covering in Texas and other states where cases are quickly rising.

Coronavirus cases in the state have taken “a very swift and dangerous turn over the past few weeks,” said Abbott, who closed bars and reduced dining facility capacities back to 50% on June 26. He also closed all floating and tubing facilities and paused further reopening of the state. Elective surgeries are no longer available in Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties, as coronavirus-related hospitalizations are rising in the areas of San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and Austin.

The governor said the concern beyond the number of cases is in the positivity rate, which he said has increased from 4.27% on May 26 to well over 13% on June 28. Daily cases have also increased from 2,000 per day to more than 5,000 per day. On June 28, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported 5,357 new cases, the sixth straight day over 5,000.


“The positivity rate shows a measurement,” Abbott said. “Over 10% would be an alarm to rein in the spread of COVID-19.”

Several cities and counties throughout Texas have enacted face covering mandates. No such guidance has come from the state or federal governments. While saying the economy needs to reopen to allow Texans to put food on the table and pay rent, Abbott also asked residents to stay home when possible.

“Don’t go out unless you need to go out,” Abbott said at the press conference.

Pence, visiting Texas for a “ground report” with the governor and his team on Sunday, said residents should listen to their local health officials when it comes to slowing the spread of coronavirus. He also encouraged Texans to wears masks where social distancing cannot be maintained.

“We’re with you, and we’re going to stay with you,” Pence told Abbott. “Texas and your health care system will have the supplies to meet this moment.”

Birx supported the push for wearing face coverings, saying new information confirms it protects the wearer from spreading and possibly contracting the disease.

According to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas has 148,728 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,393 fatalities as of June 28.
By Joe Warner
Joe Warner is executive editor of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor for Central Texas and senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.


MOST RECENT

Transwestern Real Estate Services has sold a property at 1763 Medical Way, New Braunfels, to Leben Holdings. (Courtesy Transwestern Real Estate Services)
Private company completes acquisition of 8,055-square-foot medical building in New Braunfels

Transwestern Real Estate Services has sold a property at 1763 Medical Way, New Braunfels, to Leben Holdings.

During his Jan. 19 update, Urbanovsky said he planned to update county officials on Buda’s situation Jan. 20. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Mayor delivers grim COVID-19 update for Buda

The situation with regard to COVID-19 in Buda appears for the most part to be accelerating, according to the latest report from Mayor Lee Urbanovsky.

As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office, elected officials from around Texas took to Twitter. (Courtesy Adobe Stock Images)
President Joe Biden's inauguration spurs reactions from elected officials around Texas

As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office, elected officials from around Texas took to Twitter.

City staff said there have been some delays in completion of the project, but it should be complete by March. (Screen shot courtesy city of Kyle)
Casetta Ranch roundabout in Kyle expected to have March completion

Construction of the Cassetta Ranch roundabout, a project being undertaken by developer Brohn Homes that began Nov. 4, is approximately 75% complete.

The process will start with a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott but has the potential to escalate to a legal battle with the state of Texas. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
San Marcos may challenge governor over COVID-19 restrictions

The process will start with a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott but has the potential to escalate to a legal battle with the state of Texas.

The Austin-based eatery's menu is inspired by Nashville hot chicken; offerings include chicken bites, jumbo tenders, chicken sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and homemade pies. (Courtesy Tumble 22)
Nashville-style hot chicken restaurant coming to Round Rock and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

A number of new and ongoing road projects for commuters and area residents are coming and range from improved lighting along I-35 in Kyle to a roughly $100 million overpass project in San Marcos. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
TxDOT officials share 2021 plans for several major road projects in Hays County

Road construction along the I-35 corridor in Hays County has continued mostly unabated in 2020 and will continue at a steady clip, according to Epi Gonzalez, TxDOT's area engineer for the south Travis County region.

Hays county is still waiting for larger distributions of the vaccine, but it is preparing an online portal for registration. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
Hays County now a vaccine hub, to receive 1,950 doses

Hays county is still waiting for larger distributions of the vaccine, but it is preparing an online portal for registration.

Two major transportation projects to look for in 2021 in Hays County

Major transportation improvements should be complete by the end of 2021 or in 2022, and are located in Kyle and San Marcos.

Feeding Texas hosted a Jan. 19 webinar to discuss legislative highlights for the 87th Texas Legislature. (Screenshot courtesy Feeding Texas)
Food insecurity in Texas' 87th Legislature: Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas to propose legislation addressing hunger

Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas hosted a webinar Jan. 19 to discuss increasing funding and accessibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the 87th legislative session.

COVID-19 vaccines
DATA: Texas has vaccinated about 9% of estimated Phase 1 recipients

Over 1.1 million individuals from the Phase 1 population, which is estimated to include 13.5 million individuals total, have received at least one dose.