AUSTIN, TX — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made several announcements Sunday during a press conference to update the state on its response to the coronavirus.
Gov. Abbott said no shelter in place order will be issued until he see's the results of his executive order involving limits of gatherings of 10 people.
He said that local authorities have the power to issue stricter guidelines if they choose to.
Gov. Abbott also issued two executive orders:
- The Governor directed all licensed health care professionals and facilities to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician. This does not apply to any procedure that, if performed in accordance with the commonly accepted standard of clinical practice, would not deplete the hospital capacity or the personal protective equipment needed to cope with the COVID-19 disaster.
- The Governor also suspended certain regulations as requested by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to allow for increased occupancy of hospital rooms — meaning hospitals will be able to treat more than one patient in a patient room, thus increasing their ability to care for the growing number of COVID-19 patients.
A strike force team has also been created to provide medical supplies to healthcare facilities in order to fight COVID-19.
The Supply Chain Strike Force will be tasked with guiding collaboration between the public and private sectors to ensure health care facilities have the supplies and resources they need to respond to COVID-19. In addition to working with the federal government and businesses to secure necessary personal protective equipment, the team will work to ensure day-to-day resources (including food) are available for Texas’ medical personnel, first responders and those who have contracted COVID-19.
Abbott said he was strongly urging the federal government to step up production of masks and other medical supplies necessary to protect health care workers.
Yesterday, Gov. Abbott waived several regulations to help meet Texas’ growing need for nurses as the state responds to the COVID-19 virus.
The National Guard will also be deployed this week to assist hospitals in drive-thru testing and to help local authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor's Executive Order takes effect immediately, and remains in effect and in full force until 11:59 p.m. on April 21, 2020, unless it is modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the Governor.
Gov. Abbott said there are 334 confirmed cases across Texas.
John Hopkins reports 566 people in the state of Texas tested positive, but this includes presumed positive cases.
Texas has 6 confirmed deaths as of March 22.
According to Gov. Abbott there is a rapid increase of tests being taken and as of early this morning, 8700 people have been tested in Texas.
Less than 10% of people tested for the coronavirus are testing positive.