FILE - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

(The Center Square) – Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday placed a temporary ban on all elective surgeries and suspended regulations so hospitals can treat more than one patient in a room.

Abbot said he took the executive actions to maximize the number of patients hospitals can treat as more people are diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the noval coronavirus that originated in China in December.

Abbott did not issue a shelter in place order, as states such as California, Illinois, New York and Connecticut have, despite calls for him to do so by others. Abbott cited the fact that many Texas counties have no confirmed cases of COVID-19

Shelter in place orders require individuals to stay home except for essential reasons such as to buy food, visit the doctor or travel to an essential job. Non-essential businesses also are required to close.

Abbott on Sunday also announced the creation of a "strike force" to respond to the coronavirus and said the National Guard would be deployed to help hospitals with the pandemic.

"We need to see the level of effectiveness of the executive order," Abbott said. "What may be right for places like the large urban areas may not be right at this particular point of time for the more than 200 counties that have zero cases of COVID-19."

On Thursday, Abbott issued an executive order to limit public gatherings to no more than 10 people, banning dining in at restaurants and bars and closing schools.

​Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at dmccaleb@thecentersquare.com.

Executive Editor

Dan McCaleb is a veteran editor and has worked in journalism for more than 25 years. Most recently, McCaleb served as editorial director of Shaw Media and the top editor of the award-winning Northwest Herald in suburban Chicago.