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As COVID-19 hospitalizations spike, McLennan, other counties scale back to 50% occupancy

Published: Nov. 29, 2020 at 5:43 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2020 at 10:42 AM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - As COVID-19 cases increase, hospitalizations because of the virus are sufficiently high to force rollbacks in occupancy levels of businesses and restaurants in one five-county Central Texas Trauma Service Area.

The Department of State Health Services advised McLennan County Judge Scott Felton of the rollbacks in a letter on Sunday.

Over the past seven days, the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients in Trauma Service Area M, which includes McLennan, Bosque, Hills, Limestone and Falls County, increased to 15% of the total number of patients.

Under Executive Order GA 32, that means all restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms, exercise facilities and classes, museums and libraries are required to return to maximum 50% occupancy.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA 32 back in October, when he expanded capacity limits for businesses.

However, if the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations increased to a certain level, capacity limits would be put back into place.

According to a post on McLennan County’s website, the opt-in certification allowing bars to operate is ending.

“The City of Waco will abide by the Governor’s order. Further, the City of Waco will work strategically to support businesses impacted by this in every way possible,” Waco Mayor Dillon Meek said.

“I’ve reached out to our chambers of commerce and other business community stakeholders to discuss how we can work collaboratively to support impacted businesses.”

Under the governor’s order, business capacity is limited until there are seven consecutive days when the percentage of COVID-19 hospitalizations is 15% or less.

These capacity limits only apply to the counties in Trauma Service Area M, one of the 22 TSAs in the state.

The Texas Department of State Health Services updates which counties are under limited capacity orders on its website.

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