Crossing a red line

Will Greg Abbott notice?

North Texas crossed a critical threshold in the number of hospital patients fighting COVID-19 that could trigger bar closings and lower occupancies at stores and restaurants if such cases don’t decrease within a week.

With more than 2,300 patients testing positive for the coronavirus in the 19-county hospital region, 15.05% of all beds were occupied by a person with COVID-19, according to state data.

Hospitals had been approaching the 15% red line — set by Gov. Greg Abbott in October — for several days before the Thanksgiving holiday as the state continued to report record-breaking numbers of new coronavirus cases. On Friday, Texas reported 2,473 new cases and 51 new deaths — a drastic drop compared to recent results likely due to labs being closed for the holiday.

Currently, most businesses in the area may operate at 75% capacity. But under Abbott’s Oct. 7 executive order, businesses will be forced to limit capacity to 50% if they are in a region where more than 15% of hospital patients have tested positive for the coronavirus for seven consecutive days. The rate must drop below the red line for one week before business capacity can rise again.

“As the number of positive cases grows, our health care heroes need your patriotism and sacrifice,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins in a statement Friday. “Please put off get-togethers and avoid crowds to protect public health and the economy.”

The 19-county region includes both Dallas and Tarrant counties as well as smaller counties, including Rockwall, Cooke and Hunt.

A total of 8,518 people were in a Texas hospital Friday with COVID-19, the state reported. That’s about 2,400 shy of the state’s peak, set in July.

Nine of the state’s 22 regions reported at least one day above the 15% threshold this week. And another hovered just below it Friday. The region that includes El Paso was by far the worst, with about 35% of all its hospital patients fighting COVID-19.

Abbott on Friday tweeted a rosier outlook, highlighting that the rate of infected patients at El Paso counties had dropped for two weeks in a row, and the state’s positivity rate has been declining.

Earlier this month, Abbott rejected the idea of once again scaling back the economy statewide. Another shutdown would have a disastrous effect, he said. At the time of his comments — just eight days ago — six of the state’s regions were above the line.

At this point, we’ve basically surrendered. I have no expectation that Abbott will take any action, other than maybe to cheerlead treatment options, for those who will be able to use them. If you don’t want to be complicit in this, do your part – wear your mask, maintain social distancing, avoid public gatherings, and so on. I don’t know why our leadership is so terrible, but it is and it’s up to us to keep our own selves safe.

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15 Responses to Crossing a red line

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    First and most obvious, what percentage of the 15% positive testing patients in those hospitals are there BECAUSE of covid symptoms? If I was in a car accident, or got burned in a cooking disaster, or fell and broke my leg, and presented to the hospital, then, upon testing, discovered that I had covid but was asymptomatic, I wouldn’t have shown up to a hospital in the first place.

    Second, who is it that came up with “Gee, 15% is the magic number to start harassing businesses and individuals even more? Why not 14%? Why not 16%?

    OMG, someone came up with an arbitrary number that is, as I point out, is even MORE meaningless unless that number is people who are specifically at the hospital for the treatment of covid symptoms is known.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    *I wouldn’t have shown up to a hospital in the first place, without presenting with a problem….broken bone, burn, concussion, stroke, heart attack, etc.

  3. Ross says:

    Bill, when would you say we need to start imposing restrictions? When the hospitals are completely full and people are dying in the halls? Or do you not care who dies, as long as it’s not you?

  4. Bill Daniels says:


    No government restrictions, period. Recommendations I have no problem with….edicts not so much. Besides, aren’t we constantly hearing how rural hospitals are in danger of closing? Seems like more covid patients would help those rural hospitals increase their censuses, even if the patients have to be sent from urban area hospitals to fill those beds.

    Oh, and here’s a funny meme for you, on the very topic of forcing people out of work:

  5. Manny says:

    Bill you are full of it, which is typical for Trump lovers. When Republicans get rid of seat belt laws and drunk driving penalties, I may consider that you’ll believe the bs you’ll espouse.

  6. Ross says:

    Ok, Bill, we’ll put you in the ‘I don’t care who dies, even if it’s me’ category. The Constitution is not a suicide pact, and the issue with your plan is that idiots like you will be killing people with your desire to be ‘free.

    Rural hospitals generally lack the facilities to handle the sickest patients, so that argument is specious as well as offensive.

  7. Bill Daniels says:


    Absolutely get rid of seat belt laws (never supported them), and DWI laws should definitely be two tiered. If you cause death, injury, or property damage while drunk, yes, you should face stiff consequences, including jail or prison, depending on how many you’ve gotten. If you get stopped without actually harming anyone, it ought to be a mild offense, although for repeat non accident DWI folks, I’d be good with mandating a breathalyzer in the probationer’s vehicle(s), paid for by the probationer, as well as mandatory AA meeting attendance, and maybe having them watch the gory traffic accident videos they used to show in driver’s ed. back in the day.

    Story time: I was the jury foreman on a DWI trial 30-some years ago. Our defendant got hit by another drunk driver. The accident wasn’t his fault. We let him go because we figured he’d suffered enough already.

    Had I been on the other drunk’s jury, I would have voted to convict with some prison time, depending on whether there were prior DWI’s.


    We’re all going to die sometime, we’re all going to be exposed to the Wu flu, and if you are extremely unlucky, the Wu flu will kill you or seriously debilitate you. For almost everyone else, it’s a minor annoyance. Blame the Chinese Communist Party for that, not me.

    Kudos, however, for stealing “The Constitution isn’t a suicide pact” from me. I love that phrase, and you did use it appropriately in your argument.

  8. Ross says:

    Bill, I didn’t steal that phrase from you. I first saw it in the 80’s on BIX in a discussion with Jerry Pournelle.

    We will most likely all get exposed to COVID at some point. However, if the exposure happens in a short period of time, hospitals will be overflowing, and people who would have survived will die from a lack of care.

  9. Manny says:

    Wonder when you will start working on Republicans to get rid of seat belt laws, they added back seats to requirements. That is why I don’t buy losing freedom bs.

  10. Bill Daniels says:


    Don’t know how we got sidetracked on seat belts, but…..hate to burst your bubble, but it was Governor Mark White (D) who signed the Texas seat belt law into effect in 1985. Your people did that.

    Having pointed that out, I’m happy to know you and I agree on something, that seat belt laws are bad and should be repealed. I mean, what they are really all about is giving law enforcement yet another reason for pretexted traffic stops, and I can see how that would be used especially in bad (read: non white) neighborhoods as an excuse to stop people and check them out.

    I was once pulled over under an overpass for seat belts. I roll down the window and the cop said something to the effect of pull over there, your passenger doesn’t have a seat belt on. My passenger did indeed have a seat belt on, he grabs it off his chest and says, “Look, I’m WEARING my seat belt.”

    Cop looks flustered, then tells us to move along. Complete bullshit by HPD on McCarty under the I-10 overpass years ago.

  11. David Fagan says:

    What about texting and driving laws, any comment on that?

  12. Manny says:

    Bill like all Trump people you go into bs, Abbott and the Republicans have been there for two decades and they have not gotten rid of them. You all are full of manure, you talk freedom while you work to take it away from people and then turn around and blame the Democrats. Typical racists bs.

    By the way Bill the federal government made the states force people to wear seat belts it was that great Democrat Ronald Reagan that was president in 1985.

    Again all your bs and the Republicans BS about losing freedoms is complete bs.

  13. Manny says:

    Yeah David I have some comments, it is the fascist republicans that pass laws like that to pander to probably the soccer moms. The same ones that push all those don’t drink and drive laws. But ever wonder why they don’t ever target the makers of the beverages? Money, money in the pockets of the corrupt politicians on both sides of the aisle. The socialist Democrats are just as capable of doing the same thing if the price is right.

  14. Manny says:

    Bill, I did not realize how much you hate America. You are an American hater, your comments yesterday on Big Jolly is proof thereof;

    “And if the worst should happen, and Trump does not prevail, I hope he goes full gonzo and burns the whole friggen’ place down. Declassify everything. Fire anyone and everyone he can within the DoJ and FBI. Use the Insurrection Act to have the military go after the coup plotters. It’s now or never. If this stolen election is allowed to stand, there will never be a fair election ever again. Why would there be, when there is zero consequence for cheating? “

  15. David Fagan says:

    George Carlin died to soon.

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