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Should Texas bars reopen? Here's what the COVID-19 stats suggest

Texas has a higher seven-day average of new cases, a higher positivity rate and more hospitalizations now than when Abbott reopened bars in May.

AUSTIN, Texas — In a tweet posted Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he would be announcing more openings soon. 

The tweet included a GIF of two beer glasses raised in a toast, which would certainly seem to suggest the announcement is predicated on bars. 

In Abbott's tweet, he said hospitalizations, the number of new positive cases and the positivity rate all "remain contained." He also said Oct. 5 – the day his tweet was posted online – was "one of the lowest for fatalities in a long time."

RELATED: 'Cheers!' Gov. Abbott tweets more openings on the way. Could bars be next?

Bars have been ordered to close since late June after Abbott announced they could reopen on May 18 and cases skyrocketed. Between Abbott's announcements on May 18 and on June 26, those three metrics he referenced in his Monday tweet – hospitalizations, new positive cases and the positivity rate – each rose significantly. 

On May 18, there were 1,511 hospitalizations, a seven-day average of 1,261 new cases per day and a 6.9% positivity rate. Four days later, on May 22 when bars officially reopened, there were 1,578 hospitalizations, a seven-day moving average of 1,179 new cases and a 5.97% positivity rate. 

On June 26, when Abbott reclosed bars, there were 5,102 hospitalizations, a seven-day average of 4,903 new cases per day and a positivity rate of 18.31%. 

See the numbers depicted in the graphs below (Source: Texas Department of State Health Services):

As of Oct. 5, the day Abbott hinted at more openings, there are 3,318 hospitalizations, a seven-day average of 3,261 new cases and a 6.23% positivity rate. 

The numbers show that the metrics Abbott referenced in his Monday tweet are in a worse spot now than when he had originally reopened bars in May. Hospitalizations and the seven-day average of daily new cases are nearly twice as high and the positivity rate is approximately 0.26% higher.

Since Abbott's June executive order closing bars was enacted, however, bars have had the option to reopen and operate as restaurants

In August, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) changed its guidance to allow businesses to use alcohol sales projections or show that they recently had less than 51% alcohol sales in order to apply for a Food and Beverage Certificate. If granted, the businesses could then reopen as restaurants. 

KVUE spoke with Central Texas doctors who said even though the recent trends are encouraging, people should keep their guards up. 

"It is great news that it's under better control in Texas, but we're still seeing patients get admitted to [the] hospital and still seeing patients who get seriously ill," said Dr. Jan Patterson, a professor of medicine and infectious disease at the health center at the University of Texas at San Antonio. "You know, I think what is good news is that people have taken it seriously."

On Monday, the Texas Bar & Nightclub Alliance (TBNA) responded to Abbott's tweet, saying it has been "putting growing pressure on the governor since August" and anticipating him "to take action in reopening bars safely and fairly." The TBNA said, "Although we do not have official word on whether or not bars will be allowed to reopen, this tweet appears to be a significant step toward reopening."

WATCH: COVID-19 update: What to know Oct. 5


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