UPDATE: Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday that retail stores, restaurants, gyms, manufacturing facilities and office buildings, museums and libraries in much of Texas will be able to reopen to 75% capacity, up from 50%.
This increase will take effect this coming Monday, Sept. 21.
Abbott said many nursing homes will also be able to allow visitations and hospitals can resume conducting normal elective surgery procedures.
However, bars will remain closed until further notice, with Abbott saying those are “nationally recognized as Covid-spreading locations.”
The governor's latest order does not apply to three regions of the state — the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Victoria. Those areas were excluded from the loosening of restrictions due to higher than acceptable Covid-19 numbers that Abbott described as being “in the danger zone.”
ORIGINAL REPORT: AUSTIN, Texas — Texas health officials reported more than 3,400 confirmed new cases of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 on Wednesday, as well as 135 new Covid-19 deaths.
Hospitalizations from Covid-19 continued to fall and daily new cases also continued to decline from July's record highs.
Amid those improvising numbers, Gov. Greg Abbott scheduled a Thursday news conference at 11 a.m. MT at the Texas Capitol to discuss the state's Covid-19 response.
Abbott appeared to hint last month that more restrictions could be lifted in the face of pressure from bar and restaurant owners, as well as from some conservative GOP activists.
Bars have remained closed in Texas since June, when a surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths occurred. More than 14,400 people have died from Covid-19 in Texas, most of them this summer. In all, there have been more 674,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Texas.
The true number of Texas cases is likely higher though because many people haven’t been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
In addition, the share of positive Covid-19 cases throughout the spring has turned out to be higher than was originally reported, new state calculations made this week now show.