- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will deploy 2,500 medical staff to help hospitals battling COVID-19 cases.
- The state has seen a surge of nearly 3,000 COVID-related hospitalizations in the past week.
- Abbott has tried to ban face-mask rules, but that hasn’t gone over well in parts of the state.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the Texas Department of State Health Services will deploy more than 2,500 medical personnel to serve hospitals as COVID-19 cases surge in the state.
It is unclear when the first wave of medical staff will be dispatched, but the state said it will fund the deployment until September 30, according to a press release.
The number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations has increased in Texas more rapidly now than at any other point in this pandemic, The Texas Tribune reported.
More than 10,000 Texans were hospitalized as of August 10 — an increase of nearly 3,000 patients in the past week, according to DSHS.
In the press release, Abbott said: “The State of Texas is taking action to ensure that our hospitals are properly staffed and supported in the fight against COVID-19.”
“Texans can help bolster the state’s efforts to combat the virus by getting vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and it is our best defense against the virus.”
Despite the surge, Gov. Abbott has doubled down on his executive order prohibiting face-mask requirements, saying on Wednesday: “Any school district, public university, or local government official that decides to defy GA-38—which prohibits gov’t entities from mandating masks—will be taken to court.”
“The path forward relies on personal responsibility—not government mandates,” he added.
According to DSHS, the risk of infection in Texas is “very high.”
—Texas DSHS (@TexasDSHS) August 11, 2021
“We’re hearing from many hospitals that [they] are stretched thin with the large increase in COVID-19 cases over the last month. Supporting them with professional medical staff will let them continue to care for COVID and other patients,” a spokesperson for DSHS told Insider.
As of August 11, some 53% of residents in Texas are fully vaccinated and 64.14% have received at least one dose — according to the CDC.
Abbott’s office declined Insider’s request for additional comment.