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Gov. Abbott says 'tougher actions will be required' if COVID-19 case counts continue climb

'COVID-19 is spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas,' the governor admitted.

HOUSTON — Texas Governor Greg Abbott acknowledged Monday there are some alarming coronavirus trends in Texas over the last week and the virus "must be corralled."

"COVID-19 is spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas," the governor said.

Texas reported its largest daily increase in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began on Saturday. Hospitalization numbers are up 126% statewide since Memorial Day. 

When comparing the numbers in late May to the last five days, they've at least doubled across the board.

Cases in Texas are up from about 1,500 a day to more than 3,500. Hospitalizations have jumped from about 1,600 a day to more than 3,200. The percentage of people testing positive is up to 9 percent, compared to 4.5 percent in late May.

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"If that spike continues, further action will be necessary," Abbott said. "We don't have to choose between jobs and health. We can have both. We can protect Texans lives while also restoring their livelihoods."

Abbott said closing down Texas again will be the last resort but it could happen.

"If we do not start wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, it could result in [businesses] actually having to close back down," Abbott said. "Our goal is to keep businesses open, to keep society engaged, and one of the most effective tools that we can do that is by people wearing masks."

The mask debate has turned political in Texas and other states.

"I know that some people feel that wearing a mask is inconvenient, or that it is, like, an infringement of freedom," Abbott said. "But I also know that wearing a mask will help us to keep Texas open."

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