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Abbott expands on executive orders, state's supply of medical equipment in sit-down with 25 News

Posted at 9:42 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 22:42:13-04

WACO, TX — Texas Governor Greg Abbott sat down for a one-on-one interview with 25 News to discuss what the state is doing to slow the virus's spread.

Abbott said one of the keys to containing the virus in Texas is to limit travel into the state from "COVID-19 hot spots."

As a result, the governor passed two executive orders over the weekend requiring anyone traveling to Texas from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago and the entire state of Louisiana to self-quarantine for at least 14 days.

"Texans are doing a good job of trying to contain the spread of COVID-19 in our state," Abbott said. "In order to enhance that, we want to prevent people from importing COVID-19 from other COVID-19 hot spots across the United States."

Abbott added the nearest "hot spot" was in the state of Louisiana. Previously, the governor had only required people flying from New Orleans to self-quarantine, but as the virus continued its rapid spread through the Bayou State, he decided to tighten regulations.

"First we put a quarantine on anyone who is flying in from New Orleans into Texas, but we know most people who come to Louisiana from Texas are coming through roadway," Abbott said.

He added members of the Texas Department of Public Safety are patrolling the border between the two states to help enforce the executive order.

Abbott also addressed Texans' concerns about the amount of medical equipment in Texas hospitals. According to Abbott, the majority of beds available to COVID-19 patients remain unoccupied.

"Only two percent of that capacity is being used right now," Abbot said. "That means there's a 98% vacancy rate, and there's more beds coming on board."

Only 10% of virus tests in Texas have come back positive, according to Abbott. Additionally, only 10% of confirmed cases require hospitalization.

That is part of the reason Abbott has been hesitant to enforce a state-wide shelter-in-place order. But, he added he is working closely with the CDC and White House doctors to determine the correct actions. He anticipates the CDC will pass down new recommendations tomorrow.

"We'll be looking at what the CDC and White House doctors prescribe. I talked to them earlier today to get a grasp on what to expect, and Texas will adjust its standards based on what the CDC requires."

Abbott plans to announce those new standards in a press conference on Tuesday.