For at least the next week, many North Texas businesses are now subject immediately to greater restrictions after seven straight days where the percentage of COVID-19 patients in area hospitals has topped 15%.
That 7-day mark is the threshold at which Gov. Greg Abbott outlined in executive order GA-32 where counties in Texas’ 22 TSAs must rollback reopening restrictions to help alleviate the strain on the healthcare system.
To that end, all non-essential businesses, such as restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms and exercise facilities, museums and libraries, must immediately reduce occupancy levels from 75% to 50%. Bars in those TSAs, defined as establishments whose sales are 51% or more derived from alcohol, must also immediately close. Licensed hospitals are required to discontinue elective surgeries.
The restrictions enforced by GA-32 will remain in place until the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients drops below 15% for seven consecutive days.
For Thursday, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported TSA-E’s percentage of COVID-19 patients was 15.56%. That number, while still above the 15% threshold outlined by the governor, has dropped for two straight-days from a high of 16.4% on Dec. 1.
The following 19 counties are included in TSA E and are subject to the same restrictions unless that county separately qualifies for the greater occupancy levels because it has minimal cases of COVID-19 under the DSHS attestation process: Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Fannin, Hood, Hunt, Kaufman, Johnson, Navarro, Parker, Palo Pinto, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant, Wise.
TSA-F, which is made up of Delta, Hopkins, Lamar and Red River counties, hit five straight days over 15% before dropping below that threshold on Thursday.
On Monday, TSA-M, which includes Bosque, Falls, Hill, Limestone and McLennan counties to the south, hit a seven-day stretch of more than 15% and immediately began restriction occupancy levels and closing bars. Through Thursday, TSA-M remains above 15%.