Key Texas health groups ask Abbott for a stay at home order

An executive order issued Tuesday by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott extended the state’s social distancing protocols through April 30 and closed schools until May 4.

Only essential businesses will be open through April including grocery stores, restaurants if they offer take out and drive through services as well as banks and hardware stores.




Abbott’s order came after two key Texas health organizations Tuesday asked the governor to lock down the state to help contain the growing COVID-19 threat.

The heads of the Texas Hospital Association and the Texas Nurses Association penned a letter to Abbott saying the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 from spreading is ordering people to stay at home.

“The time has come for Texas to issue a statewide stay-at-home order,” the letter says. “We urge you to implement this strict measure to prevent widespread illness in Texas. The faster and more consistently people stay at home, the safer we all will be and the sooner our economy can rebound from this disaster.”

The letter came from THA President and CEO Ted Shaw and CEO Cindy Zolnierek of the TNA. Until now, Abbott has refused to issue a statewide stay at home order, allowing local jurisdictions to make the move.

Shaw and Zolnierek both praised Abbott’s work so far in fighting the virus. But, they say, the Texas health care community is becoming increasingly concerned as case counts continue to climb and frontline supplies wane.

They also write that some pockets of Texas are still not heeding the warning for individuals to keep a safe distance from each other. A statewide order would drive home the seriousness of the COVID-19 threat, they say.

“Modeling projections for Texas plus experiences unfolding in New York are dire,” they say. “While we applaud Texas’ work to stand up additional capacity and provide the health care industry with regulatory flexibilities, the chief priority right now is preventing the spread of illness.”