A Texas hospital that was forced to close in September after receiving an unprecedented amount of federal dollars to treat a deadly coronavirus outbreak has been forced to reopen in an unprecedented move by state leaders.
The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in San Antonio was the first to close down, citing budget cuts, when federal authorities announced they would withhold millions of dollars in federal aid to the hospital.
A federal judge blocked the hospital’s closure in August, but Texas Gov.
Greg Abbott signed an executive order on Thursday ordering it reopened.
The order, which also allows the state to continue using the state’s state-run health system for care, also means the hospital can begin paying its employees.
But the hospital said Friday that it will be unable to reopen for another two months, as it continues to recover from the coronaviruses outbreak that killed at least 17 people and sickened hundreds of others.
“This is a big deal,” said Chris Withers, the director of the Center for Health Policy at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
“The only way we can be sure that we can do this is by having a federal judge review the order.
The order doesn’t say what that judge will decide.
That’s what the governor and other leaders have said they’re trying to do.”
Abbott said in a statement that the hospital had been in a critical position and needed to re-establish a safe and effective environment for its patients and staff.
The decision to close the hospital comes amid a nationwide lockdown of public facilities as the virus spreads.
About 1.6 million people in the U.S. have been hospitalized since the virus was first reported in Texas in early September.
At least 10 other states have declared state of emergency, which allows the U