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’Glimmers of hope’: Abbott gives coronavirus update, touches on reopening economy and schools

AUSTIN – As Texas comes closer to its predicted peak, Gov. Greg Abbott took some time Monday to talk about what he called, “glimmers of hope, with a whole bunch of red flags.”

During a news conference, Abbott gave some new numbers for the state, saying that counts – though still high – were looking better.

“The glimmers come from what the numbers are beginning to show,” Abbott said.

According to Abbott, more than 133,000 have been tested for coronavirus. Of those, 13,827 have tested positive. More data showed that 1,176 people have been hospitalized and 286 people have died due to coronavirus, Abbott said. In Texas, 2,269 people have recovered, Abbott said.

“The number of people who tested positive as of the close of business (Sunday) was the lowest in an entire week and the second-lowest since late March,” Abbott said. “Those are good numbers but let me get into the red flags. One thing that I have seen is it seems as though every Sunday is the lowest day in the week for the number of people who test positive … Sunday was lower, however, it still sets a good trend in that is was the second-lowest number of people who tested positive since late March.”

Abbott said that if the trends continue, it would mean that the state is moving in the right direction in terms of flattening the curve and lowering the number of people who are testing positive, however, it is still too early to make that call.

According to Abbott, the number of hospitalizations, fatalities and cumulative cases are also seeing a decline.

Unemployment and reopening the Texas economy

The Texas Workforce Commission has also been able to drastically increase the number of people it can process by changing the hours, Abbott said.

According to Abbott, less than 400,000 claims had been processed as of Friday, but as of Monday, 1.13 million claims have been paid, with the total payout amount reaching well over $400 million.

Abbott also announced that later this week, he would be introducing the state to a team that has been put together to carefully and strategically evaluate what needs to be done to reopen the economy.

“This is not going to be a ‘rush-the-gates, everybody is suddenly able to reopen all at once,’” Abbott said. “We have to understand that we must reopen in a way in which we are able to stimulate the economy while at the very same time ensuring that we contain the spread of COVID-19.”

Abbott said an executive order will be used to begin the process because it will ensure that businesses don’t open all at once, but rather in phases to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

Schools reopening in Texas

During the news conference, Abbott was asked if there was any update in when schools could reopen and Abbott said there would be an announcement on it this week.

He did not elaborate on what the announcement will be or when it will be.

Gov. Greg Abbott discusses program to support small businesses during coronavirus pandemic.

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Monday, April 13, 2020

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