Texas COVID-19 Major Counties
  County Rates Per 100,000 Population
Ranked on Confirmed Cases
    Cases Deaths Tests
1 Potter 1,767 19.1 3,658
2 Randall 448 3.0 1,169
3 Dallas 277 6.5 2,223
4 Tarrant 212 5.9 1,676
5 El Paso 211 5.5 1,698
6 Galveston 209 9.3 7,772
7 Fort Bend 204 5.2 4,645
8 Lubbock 203 16.4 1,820
9 Brazoria 201 2.8 1,866
10 Travis 198 6.3 1,643
11 Harris 196 4.4 2,387
12 Webb 171 6.2 1,130
13 Jefferson 170 10.1 2,755
14 Taylor 159 4.4 2,003
15 Ellis 142 6.9 1,803
16 Brazos 140 8.1 1,064
17 Montgomery 140 3.2 1,772
18 Rockwall 138 5.2 1,537
19 Cameron 137 6.2 1,029
20 Denton 126 3.3 1.617
21 Bexar 108 3.2 1,512
22 Collin 104 3.2 1,517
23 Hays 102 1.4 1,354
24 Smith 83 1.3 1,353
25 Williamson 82 3.5 1,105
26 Midland 74 7.3 1,223
27 Johnson 73 2.4 1,496
28 Bell 71 0.9 1,536
29 Nueces 64 0.8 608
30 McLennan 39 1.6 1,055


Texas COVID-19 Rural Counties
  County Rates Per 100,000 Population
Ranked on Confirmed Cases
    Cases Deaths Tests
1 Moore 2,498 49.8 2.905
2 Panola 697 64.5 1,213
3 Shelby 686 20.0 2,477
4 Deaf Smith 632 31.9 733
5 Walker 583 26.3 1,549
6 Washington 516 62.8 1,955
7 Ochiltree 397 19.9 953
8 Gonazles 378 9.6 1,307
9 Nacogdoches 363 25.9 1,998
10 Castro 332 12.8 1,632
11 Harrison 300 28.5 1,023
12 Dawson 297 7.8 1,038
13 Coryell 295 2.7 1,831
14 Hansford 292 36.5 310
15 San Augustine 266 12.1 1,151
16 Titus 252 3.1 790
17 Grimes 225 3.6 1,045
18 Hardin 205 7.0 553

May 18, 2020

Abbott Seeks to Get Summer Back on Track
as Democrats Decry Pandemic Management

Texas Reopening Phase Two

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

Governor Greg Abbott accelerated the Texas coronavirus lockdown dismantling on Monday with green lights in May for bars, day care, summer school and professional sports that will be played in empty stadiums.

As Democrats accused Abbott of mismanaging the state's pandemic response and subsequent easing of restrictions, the Republican governor moved the reopening process into the second major phase amid the assertion that the state will learn to coexist with COVID-19.

Abbott said that the El Paso and Amarillo areas will have to wait a week before the new phase for the lifting of restrictions gets under way as a consequence of alarming spikes in the rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the West Texas cities.

Abbott added Moore and Deaf Smith counties to the list of places for delayed reopenings that includes El Paso County and Potter and Randall counties where Amarillo is located in the Texas Panhandle that's been the epicenter of the outbreak here in the past two weeks.

The governor said the Texas summer resurgence would be possible as a result of a substantial increase in testing for the virus across the state in the past two weeks. More than 693,000 people have been tested here for the coronavirus since the initial Texas cases surfaced in early March. But Abbott said that more than twice as many tests have been taken in Texas in the past two weeks than the entire months of March and April - due in part to Surge Response Teams that the state has sent to areas that have been hit hard with outbreaks at meat packing plants, nursing homes and prisons.

Democrats were giving the governor no credit for the state's progress in the pandemic's midst - contending in a conference call that Texas Democratic Party arranged that local leaders had implemented the policies that had minimized the death and destruction here before Abbott expanded them statewide.

After praising cities and counties for taking the lead in the first few weeks of the crisis, Abbott has piqued their wrath by stripping them of their ability to endorce local mask orders and other restrictions that they'd put in place when the governor had been hestitant to act.

The state Democratic Party also blasted the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court for a ruling late last week that allows evictions, foreclosures and debt collection efforts to continue during the pandemic. The Democrats also took a shot at Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton a week after he'd threatened to take the cities of Austin and San Antonio to court for keeping stay-at-home and mask orders in place despite the Abbott directives that ostensibly invalidated them.

Almost 49,000 had been infected with the virus by mid-afternoon on Monday in Texas where at least 1,347 had died after coming down with it according to the Department of State Health Services. More than 693,000 people have been tested for the virus across the state.

But the access that Texans have had to coronavirus tests has varied from place to place - with some places like Galveston, Fort Bend and Harris counties making free tests available regardless of whether people have experienced symptoms or not.

Abbott announced today at a Capitol briefing that drinking establishments in other parts of the state can get back to business on Friday at 25 percent capacity when restaurants can double their occupancy to 50 percent after being allowed to serve diners on their premises at the lower limit for the past two weeks.

The governor said that businesses will have to enforce social distancing and have other protocols that have become standard in the coronavirus era as a condition for coming back to life.

Abbott said child care operations can resume immediately while giving schools around the state the go-ahead to reopen on June 1 for summer classes despite perceptions that they'd have to wait for the fall semester before kids could return. The governor, however, added that school districts will retain the option to remain closed throughout the summer if they choose.

The new set of executive orders that Abbott issued today clears the way for Friday reopenings for bowling alleys, skating rinks, bingo halls, zoos and aquariums with rodeos getting permission to buck from the gates again later this week. But Abbott said that child care facilities, massage therapists and youth clubs could reopen immediately

Youth camps received permission from the governor to reopen on the last day this month when professional baseball and basketfall teams in Texas will be able to play again without fans in the stands.

more to come ...


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