Gov. Greg Abbott gave Texans an update on the state’s efforts to combat the novel coronavirus’ spread and provide care to those infected.
He spoke at 2 p.m. Wednesday and his remarks were live streamed.
The Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, and Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Texas System John Zerwas also attended the news conference.
By the numbers
As of Wednesday, Texas reported the total number of known coronavirus cases are 9,107. The latest available figures show more than 1,200 patients were hospitalized in the state. A total of 175 Texans have died. Abbott said there’s been a 10% increase in testing per day due to more private companies testing for the virus than federal testing. He said drive-thru testing will continue to increase across the state and mentioned 96,258 Texans have been tested so far.
Harris County hit hard by virus
Abbott said Harris County has taken the “hardest hit” by the coronavirus with high numbers of cases and deaths in Texas. He said he spoke with Vice President Mike Pence about Harris County and how he wanted to make sure the county has everything it needs to help fight the pandemic.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, Harris County, including Houston, has 2,146 positive cases, 23 deaths and 303 recoveries. The Houston area has more than 3,380 cases, 50 deaths and 509 total recoveries.
State’s response to fight against coronavirus
Abbott asked Texans to continue social distancing because it is helping to slow down the number of cases.
He said he will continue to make orders to help state and local response stronger. On Monday, he temporarily waived regulations to allow pharmacy techs and interns to help licensed pharmacists.
Production and distribution
Abbott also said more PPE is being accrued and distributed via donations and federal funds. Specifically, around 2 million masks are being distributed as the state responds the local government and health facilities needs.
Abbott announced another new partnership between the Texas Military Department and Prestige Ameritech to increase the production of face masks for health care workers.
Prestige Ameritech will be fully staffed for a 24-hour operation at its headquarters near Fort Worth to help produce 2 million masks per week. Abbott thanked private companies across the state that are manufacturing PPE for Texans serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.
“The State of Texas is continuing to work closely with our public and private partners to ramp up the production and distribution of PPE in Texas,” Abbott said. “This new partnership between TMD and Prestige Ameritech is an important component of our commitment to ensuring our health care workers have the supplies they need to do their important work. I thank these partners for providing this much-needed resource to our health care workers serving our fellow Texans. The Lone Star State remains unwavering in our support for our front line health care workers as we continue to respond to COVID-19.”