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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says “there is no shutdown coming” as coronavirus cases surge

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a strike force in charge of laying steps to re-open the Texas economy at a press conference in the capitol on Friday.      Miguel Gutierrez Jr/The Texas Tribune
Gov. Greg Abbott announced a strike force in charge of laying steps to re-open the Texas economy at a press conference in the capitol on Friday. Miguel Gutierrez Jr/The Texas Tribune

As coronavirus cases continue to rise and hospitals grow more crowded in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday there is no statewide shutdown looming.

Abbott said last week that if the spread of the virus didn't slow that "the next step would have to be a lockdown." But while he acknowledged in a television interview Thursday that there have been rumors of such a move, he stressed that they were not true.

“Let me tell you, there is no shutdown coming,” he told KRIV.

Abbott pointed to measures he’s taken in recent weeks, including a statewide mask mandate and an order shutting down bars, as protection against a shutdown. It will take a few weeks to see a reversal in coronavirus case surges, he said.

“We are certainly not out of the woods yet, but this could be a glimmer of hope,” Abbott said, referencing a recent “flattening” of hospitalizations. “But the only way we can avoid a shutdown is if we do get everybody buying into this process of wearing a face mask.”

Earlier Thursday, Abbott defended his coronavirus response at the Texas GOP convention after acknowledging widespread discontent. Several Republican officials have voiced their criticism of Abbott’s statewide mask order.

This developing story will be updated.