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March 22, 2020      4:50 PM

Gov. Abbott stops short of shelter in place order, for now

The total number of tested cases is now 8,700 in Texas, almost quadruple the number of tests completed on Friday

Gov. Greg Abbott stopped short of issuing a shelter-in-place order for Texas residents in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic this afternoon, relying on local jurisdictions with a higher number of diagnosed cases to pull the trigger on tighter quarantines.

Abbott updated the public on COVID-19 in Texas, issuing two executive orders to expand available hospital beds but declining to limit freedom of movement. That will be left to county discretion. More than 200 counties have yet to post a single positive COVID-19 test.

“I am governor of 254 counties in the state of Texas. More than 200 of those counties still have zero in terms of people testing positive for COVID-19,” Abbott said. “The reality is I know, as the public knows, that cases of COVID-19 are increasing in places like Dallas, in Houston, in Austin, in several other areas.”

What may be right for urban areas may not be right for rural counties, Abbott said.

That argument did not sit well with some.

By Kimberly Reeves

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