Ector County GOP censures Abbott over executive power amid coronavirus, state Sen. Charles Perry calls for special session

It is really hard to fix stupid people who filter everything as an attack on their “right” to do whatever they want regardless on the impact on others in their family or community.
Gov. Greg Abbott speaks about the categories of medical surge facilities during a press conference at the Texas Department of Public Safety in Austin on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks about the categories of medical surge facilities during a press conference at the Texas Department of Public Safety in Austin on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.
Ricardo B. Brazziell/Pool/American-Statesman

The Ector County Republican Party voted Saturday to censure Gov. Greg Abbott, accusing him of overstepping his authority in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, while state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, called for a special session so lawmakers could have a say in how Texas proceeds amid soaring caseloads.

The party executive committee in Ector County, home to Odessa, passed the censure resolution 10-1, with one abstention and three voting members who were not present, according to the chairperson, Tisha Crow. She said she was among those who supported the resolution, which accuses Abbott of violating five party principles related to his exercise of executive power during the pandemic.

While the resolution asks that delegates to the state convention later this month consider — and affirm — Ector County’s action, Crow said consideration is “not guaranteed,” and one precinct chair, Aubrey Mayberry, said the resolution “doesn’t have any teeth” for now — but that it was important to send a message about what they consider Abbott’s overreach.

Mayberry, who voted for the resolution, said he was working with precinct chairs in other Texas counties to get similar resolutions passed ahead of the convention.

The Ector County vote came two days after Abbott took one of his most sweeping executive actions yet, requiring Texans in most public places to wear masks. For months, Abbott has used his executive authority aggressively to respond to the pandemic, forcing hospitals to suspend elective surgeries, ordering Texans to stay at home in April except for essential activities, and shutting down certain businesses — and then reopening them before COVID-19 cases surged. Texas is now one of the nation’s epicenters for the virus.

Perry wrote Saturday on Facebook that he is “deeply concerned about the unilateral power being used with no end in sight.”

“This is why I urge Governor Abbott to convene a special session to allow the legislature to pass legislation and hold hearings regarding the COVID-19 response,” Perry said. “It should not be the sole responsibility of one person to manage all of the issues related to a disaster that has no end in sight.”

In the upper chamber, state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, has also called for a special session, as have several House Republicans.

Abbott has not explicitly ruled out a special session before the Legislature meets again in January. In a TV interview Friday, though, he made clear it was not his preference at this point.

“The important thing is that we have the capability of responding very swiftly, and now is just not the time [to call the Legislature back],” Abbott told KTRK in Houston. “I will say that all possibilities will always remain on the table, but right now we’re just making sure that we do all the right things to ensure that we’re putting public health and safety first and that we reduce the spread of the coronavirus.”

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Mali: Dogon village attacked — AFRICA DIPLOMATIC

Nine soldiers have been killed in an ambush in the centre of Mali as they advancing on their way to the site of a massacre of villagers, an army official said. Unidentified armed men massacred 31 civilians in simultaneous attacks on several 🇲🇱 #Mali villages this week, then killed nine soldiers responding to the assault […]

Mali: Dogon village attacked — AFRICA DIPLOMATIC

Coronavirus: Spain puts area near Barcelona in new lockdown

Some 200,000 people living in the northeastern Catalonia region have been given new stay-at-home orders. Spain’s tourism and hospitality sectors are struggling to rescue what remains of the summer season.

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Some 200,000 people living in the northeastern Catalonia region have been given new stay-at-home orders. Spain’s tourism and hospitality sectors are struggling to rescue what remains of the summer season.

The Young Cut Loose in Myrtle Beach. The Virus Followed Them Home.

Dozens of people who came to Myrtle Beach from West Virginia tested positive for the coronavirus after they returned home. Three separate clusters of Covid-19 cases in Kentucky and at least one in Ohio have been linked to returning visitors. Public health officials across Virginia have reported similar cases. More than 20 student athletes in South Carolina contracted the virus on a trip to the coast. And those are just some of the clusters that have popped up.

A popular spring break and summertime destination on the South Carolina coast is linked to clusters of coronavirus cases among teenagers and young adults in several states.

Ten out of the 12 hospitals in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley are now full

The Valley Baptist Health System, which runs three hospitals in the region, said its hospitals in Harlingen and Brownsville are above 100 percent capacity, with more than 40% of their beds filled with patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.

“What that means is that we are now at the point of grave concern,” Manny Vela, the system’s CEO, said in a written statement on Friday.
The COVID-19 unit at the DHR Health Center in Edinburg on June 30, 2020.

The COVID-19 unit at the DHR Health Center in Edinburg on June 30, 2020.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

Hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley sounded the alarm Saturday as their beds filled to capacity with COVID-19 patients and some began transferring patients elsewhere.

Ten of 12 hospitals in Hidalgo, Cameron and Starr counties are now on “diversion status,” which means all their beds are full, although Hidalgo County spokesperson Carlos Sanchez said it’s a “fluid situation so diversions may be lifted at any moment.”

Sanchez said the state has sent medical personnel and supplies to the area to help overwhelmed hospitals, “but personnel remains a concern.”

In the Rio Grande Valley, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has more than tripled over the past two weeks, from 253 people on June 22 to 820 on July 4.

The Valley Baptist Health System, which runs three hospitals in the region, said its hospitals in Harlingen and Brownsville are above 100 percent capacity, with more than 40% of their beds filled with patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.

“What that means is that we are now at the point of grave concern,” Manny Vela, the system’s CEO, said in a written statement on Friday.

Health officials in deep South Texas are urging the community “to take immediate action to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” through social distancing, masks and hand-washing, said Leslie Bingham, CEO for Valley Baptist-Brownsville. The hospital cleared space reserved for elective surgeries earlier this week to create another coronavirus unit.

Starr and Hidalgo counties sent emergency alerts to their residents on Friday.

“The local and Valley hospitals are at full capacity and have no more beds available,” Starr County Judge Eloy Vera said in a statement. Hospitals in Starr County were also transferring patients, with at least two severely ill patients flown to Dallas and San Antonio, Vera added.

The region had recorded 127 deaths as of Saturday. Dr. Jose Vazquez, Starr County health authority, told KRGV that on Friday five people suspected of having COVID-19 died in Starr County, and “we are at the point where decisions are going to have to be made in the future about rationing resources.”

Both Vazquez and his counterpart in Hidalgo County, Dr. Ivan Melendez, have tested positive to COVID-19 this week.

As COVID-19 cases have exploded across Texas, health officials in other areas are also expressing concern about hospital capacity. In San Antonio, Alan Harris, president and CEO of Methodist Health Care System, said coronavirus cases in its hospitals have more than quadrupled over the past two weeks — an increase that he called “unsustainable.”

“What’s really frightening is that there’s very little we can do, because many of those patients are already infected,” said Matt Stone, CEO for the Baptist Health System in San Antonio.

Texas reported 7,890 people hospitalized for coronavirus on Saturday — another record high.

Gov. Greg Abbott, who began allowing Texas businesses to reopen on May 1, expanded his June 25 ban on elective surgeries to counties in South Texas on Tuesday to preserve hospital capacity. He also amended his statewide executive order to limit outdoor events to 10 people and mandated that Texans to wear a face covering in businesses and indoor public spaces.

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Trump claims ‘victory’ as US sees Covid-19 case records in multiple states

Insane bilge! Florida says confirmed cases up by record 11,458 but president claims US on the way to ‘tremendous victory’ over coronavirus

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Florida says confirmed cases up by record 11,458 but president claims US on the way to ‘tremendous victory’ over coronavirus

On the Fourth of July national holiday, a day after the US reported a third straight day with a more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases and as Florida and Texas reported more record rises, Donald Trump claimed “a tremendous victory” was at hand.

Related: ‘We don’t want things to get out of hand again’: as New York reopens, dangers lie ahead

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