Abbott suspends elective surgeries in Harris, 3 other Texas counties over fears of COVID-19 hospitalization surge

HOUSTON – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday to suspend elective surgeries at hospitals in Harris County.

Other counties included in the order include Bexar, Dallas and Travis counties.


The order, which goes into effect on Friday at 11:59 p.m., is to ensure hospital bed availability for COVID-19 patients as Texas faces an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, according to a news release announcing the order.

Under this order, the governor directs all hospitals in these counties to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician.

Through proclamation, the governor can add or subtract from the list of counties included in the executive order to address surges in hospitalizations that may arise in other parts of the state.

“As Texas faces a rise in COVID-19 cases, we are focused on both slowing the spread of this virus and maintaining sufficient hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients,” Abbott is quoted as saying. “These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19 and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients. As we work to contain this virus, I urge all Texans to do their part to help contain the spread by washing their hands regularly, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing.”

Elective surgeries were suspended early on in the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and then began again on April 22.