BRYAN, TX — Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference Tuesday afternoon ending most of his previous executive order set back in October of last year.
Starting Wednesday, March 10th all businesses will be allowed to open to 100%.
“That includes any type of entity in Texas. Also, I am ending the statewide mask mandate,” said Gov. Abbott.
Governor Abbott’s announcement comes as the state sets a new record of 216,000 doses administered in a single day. As vaccination distribution efforts continue across the state, Gov. Abbotts suspects all Texans will be vaccinated by this summer, which he believes, puts Texas in a great position to reopen completely.
“It is clear from the recoveries, from the vaccinations, from the reduced hospitalizations, and from the safe practices Texans are using, that state mandates are no longer needed," said Gov. Abbott.
The announcement comes the same day as the Brazos County Health District reports the hospitals in the county are under 100% total ICU bed occupancy, the first time since Jan 6, 2021.
As of March 1, total ICU bed occupancy is 98% full in Brazos.
The reporting comes as the county’s vaccination hub is set to administer the most vaccines they have this week, and as the county continues to see reinfections in some patients in Brazos County.
“There’s no doubt that there are reinfections. We saw that very early. We saw it a year ago. We saw that started to happen. It was kind of ones, and twos, and threes, but we see it and it’s still not the rule, it’s more the exception to the rule," said Dr. Seth Sullivan, the Brazos County Alternate Health Authority.
Dr. Sullivan says, reinfections are happening here in Brazos County, across the State and country, but says those who are seeing reinfections, tend to be less impacted by the virus once they are reinfected.
“In general, those who do get reinfected seem to be less impacted by it, not everybody, but it does seem to be that way,” said Dr. Sullivan.
While antibody testing became available last April, research suggests, that antibodies do not tell the whole story in regard to immunity against COVID-19.
“Some of these antibodies are weighing within three months, but we’re thinking cellular immunity may last eight months or more,” said Sullivan.
Dr. Sullivan says, while much of the focus has shifted to vaccination distribution, COVID-19 testing continues to be vital.
“We just need to know where the virus is, and so, the testing is going to continue to be a part of it," said Dr. Sullivan. "But these reinfections are there and I think at the end of the day, it’s just one more curveball, as I said, the importance of getting folks vaccinated, and certainly the folks that want the vaccine. You get through that waiting list and continue to be vigilant.”
That same vigilance coming from Gov. Abbott as well, as he's urging all Texans to continue following medical advice proven to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Remember this, removing state mandates does not end personal responsibility or the importance of caring for your family members, or caring for your friends, and caring for others in your community. Personal vigilance to follow the safety standards is still needed to contain covid." Gov Abbott added.