On Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, Wharton County Judge Phillip Spenrath received this formal notice from John Hellerstedt, MD with the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The notice states:
“On Wednesday, October 7, 2020, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-32, which supersedes GA-30. Significantly, GA-32 updates the thresholds for areas with high hospitalizations.
The new definition of areas with high hospitalizations is:
Any Trauma Service Area (TSA) that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity exceeds 15 percent, until such time as the Trauma Service Area (TSA) has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity is 15 percent or less.
Under the criteria laid out in GA-32, your (Wharton County) area, TSA Q, meets the definition of a high hospitalization area and so may not conduct elective surgeries or reopen to the higher levels allowable under GA-32.”
Texas Executive Order GA-32 implements that 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, defined as establishments whose sales are 51% or more derived from alcohol, must also immediately close on-premise services.
Licensed hospitals are required to discontinue elective surgeries.
Spenrath explained that, “This designation remains until such time as the TSA has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity is 15 percent or less.”
He also noted that this is the governor’s order and thus the state will be charged with implementing closures, saying,”My office will not be issuing any new emergency orders at this time.
“Because the County Judge’s office lacks law enforcement authority, questions pertaining to closure enforcement would best be directed to the TABC and/or regional and area law enforcement officials.”
For more information about Abbott’s Executive Order and current TSA hospitalization rates, visit https://www.dshs.state.tx.us.