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Abbott says shut down is last resort but possible if COVID-19 cases keep rising

Gov. Greg Abbott urged all Texans to start wearing masks and social distance to slow the spread of coronavirus.

AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott made a plea for Texans to begin following the proper safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a press conference Monday afternoon.

Positive cases have been dramatically increasing in June. Abbott said if more isn't done to slow the spread Texas could be forced to shut down again.

"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," said Abbott. "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."

Abbott also pointed out the rise in the positivity rate which as of June 21 was at 9.51%. That's the highest it's been since April 21.

More than 114,000 cases have been reported in the state, and more than 2,100 people have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. More than 3,700 people are hospitalized across the state. An estimated 69,190 people have recovered. 

Credit: TX Dept. State Health Services

Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver issued a mandatory mask ordinance Friday night. It requires all employees and visitors of businesses to wear face masks where social distancing is not possible. The cities of Hewitt and Woodway issued similar orders over the weekend.

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported an additional 17 cases Monday, bringing the total in the county to 371 with 221 of those active.

More than 13,000 tests have been conducted. Eleven people are in the hospital and all of them are in critical condition and 145 people have recovered.

Credit: Waco-McLennan Co. Public Health Dist

The Bell County Public Health District was reporting 769 total cases as of Monday with 332 recoveries.

Ten people have died in Bell County. The positivity rate is 3.34%.

Bell County Judge David Blackburn said Friday discussions about a mask ordinance have occurred and he expected them to continue this week.

Credit: Bell Co. Public Health Dist.

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