AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Gov. Greg Abbott says right now is the last chance for people in Texas to work to contain the spread of COVID-19 before having to force the economy to shut down.

“If we do not contain this measure right now, we will lose the last, best chance to slow the coronavirus for anything short of having to shut our economy back down,” Gov. Abbott said in an interview with KTAB. “That’s the last thing we want to have happen in Texas.”

According to the Governor, rising positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths since June were behind his decision to order Texans in counties with more than 20 positive cases to wear masks.

“Our goal is to make sure that people will be able to continue to prosper while also protecting their lives,” said Abbott. “We can achieve both by having people wear face masks.

“This was really always going to be a last option,” said Abbott. “What we’ve seen over the past few weeks has been a spiraling out of control in the amount of people who are getting COVID-19, the amount of hospitalizations that we’re seeing and an increase in deaths we’re seeing.”

Gov. Abbott said “alarm bells” went off because of the state’s recent rising positivity rate. To combat the rising rates, Abbott said he needed to mandate face masks. He cited doctors saying the best way to slow the spread is by wearing face masks.

The Governor said he wanted Texans to continue to be able to work and live while also protecting themselves from the virus.

“We don’t need any more lockdowns,” said Abbott.