Two New Trauma Service Areas Cross Hospitalization Threshold to Trigger COVID-19 Reopening Rollback

January 7, 2021 | Insights

By Kate Goodrich

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has advised that two additional Trauma Service Areas (TSAs) now have COVID-19-related hospitalization rates high enough to trigger capacity reductions under Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Orders.

TSA-Q, a region that includes Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, and six additional surrounding counties, and TSA-L, which includes six counties in the Belton/Killen area of Central Texas, both have had COVID-19 hospitalizations exceed 15% of total hospital capacity for seven days in a row, according to data from DSHS.

According to Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders GA-31 and GA-32, issued on September 17, 2020, and October 7, 2020, respectively, the following restrictions are now in effect for both Trauma Service Areas:

  • Any business establishment that currently has a 75% occupancy or operating limit may operate at up to only 50% capacity. These businesses include: restaurants; gyms; retail establishments, including vape stores and hobby stores; amusement parks; water parks; swimming pools; museums; libraries; zoos, aquariums, natural caverns, and similar facilities; and indoor and outdoor professional, collegiate and similar sporting events.
  • People shall not visit bars or similar establishments. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) will determine the extent of operation.
  • The ability to visit nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities is determined through guidance from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).
  • Elective surgeries and procedures that are not medically necessary to diagnose or correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient must be postponed unless the surgery or procedure can be performed in a manner that is in accordance with the commonly accepted standard of clinical practice and will not deplete any hospital capacity needed to cope with the COVID-19 disaster.

Occupancy limits do not apply to exempted business, which may still operate at 100% capacity despite high hospitalizations. Exempted activities include: CISA essential services (such as grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, pet stores, superstores, gun stores and shooting ranges, and certain manufacturing operations); local government operations; child-care services; youth camps; recreational sports (youth and adult); any public or private schools; and drive-in concerts, movies, or the like. Additionally, the following businesses may operate with 6 feet between work stations: cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops; nail salons; massage establishments or other facility where licensed massage therapists practice; other personal care or beauty services such as tanning salons, tattoo studios; piercing studios; hair removal studios and hair loss treatment or growth services.

Executive Orders GA-31 and GA-32 will remain in place until repealed by Governor Abbott or until the State of Disaster concludes.

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Please note: This article and any resources presented on the Jackson Walker Coronavirus microsite do not constitute legal or medical advice.

In This Story

Kate Goodrich
Governmental Affairs Consultant, Austin