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Abbott tells ABC-7 he’s monitoring El Paso’s hospital status to evaluate if more re-opening can occur

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told ABC-7 that he'll be speaking with El Paso's mayor and county judge next week to again examine the coronavirus situation, and determine whether it's safe for the local economy to be re-opened further.

Bars and bowling allies were among expanded openings across much of Texas on Friday, but not in El Paso. Abbott paused that from happening for a week due to concerns about the county's virus hospitalization rate.

Since that halt was put into place on Monday, conditions have worsened. As of Friday, El Paso health officials reported 119 patients currently hospitalized, with 65 in intensive care and 22 on ventilators.

Abbott said in an interview with ABC-7 on Friday evening that the state is closely monitoring El Paso's hospital and ICU bed capacity.

"First and foremost, (we're looking at) what is the status of the availability of hospital and ICU units and things like that," Abbott explained. "The good news is we have robust ability to expand hospital capacity if needed, but our goal is, hopefully because of the surge team, we will see a downward trajectory in the number of people testing positive."

Abbott sent a surge response team to El Paso recently at the request of Mayor Dee Margo to boost testing capability in the hopes of getting a better indication of the virus' spread within the community.

On another topic, Abbott told ABC-7 that he thinks college football will return on schedule in Texas with some level of fans in the stands. He based that observation on conversations he's had recently with Big-12 conference leaders.

Abbott has already issued new rules to allow youth sports leagues to resume in June and for some professional leagues to hold events without spectators. But the state rules have so far not touched college sports.

“Once we get to college football season, our goal right now is to have college football season start as planned, with fans in stands,” the Republican governor said. “What we don’t know is what the capacity level would be.”

Coronavirus / Coronavirus Video / Health / Texas Politics / Video

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.



  1. The COVID-19 stats shows El Paso County has over 1500 hospital beds at various local hospitals not to mention the ICUs. So what’s the real issue? UMC is not the only candy store in town. Keep the next phase of the re-opening on the 29th going.

    1. You can’t just assume all beds can be used for COVID patients. We still have car wrecks, shootings, standings, heart attacks, strokes, cancer patients, even animal bites to worry about. COVID patients are kept separate.

      1. That could be true but the info comes off the COVID-19 stats. Why list how many total beds are available in El Paso County. Is that a figure just to make things look good? If you don’t like it take it up with the media and City/County Health Department to adjust that figure down or differentiate. If El Paso can’t handle up to at least 200 in patient COVID-19 cases at any given time then we are in trouble. BTW – I think you are wrong again and just full of it. Typo: standings = stabbings?

  2. UMC is the hospital best equipped to deal with infectious disease. Its also a teaching hospital which means they are at the forefront of recent medical developments.

    1. Proof? UMC charges the highest for emergency room visits and in hospitalization care. Good money maker for poor El Paso County but bad for your wallet or medical insurance. Texas Tech is a good medical school though. You do know that the doctor at the EL Paso Health Department is a pediatrician and not an infectious disease expert.

      1. The Doctor is NOT a…. UMC is getting rich of my taxes….Do you ever stop complaining, son? What do you care? Anytime your old sack of bones gets sick you go to Beaumont at no charge. Quit your bitchin and find a hobby that makes you happy. Try bird watching or stamp collecting. Man alive!!

        1. The problem is you don’t pay any property taxes so moot issue for you. I know that for a fact. More PI info? BTW – I can go to any hospital I want. I have both tricare and medicare. What do you have? Nada? Get a life Alberto.

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