AUSTIN, Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that he will sign an executive order next week laying out how Texas businesses will begin to reopen “in a way that is safe.” Texas has not yet reached the predicted mid-April peak of coronavirus cases.
Abbott said it is the state’s goal to focus on protecting lives while restoring livelihoods. He said he wants Texans to get back to work but wants to do it safely.
Texas COVID-19 cases by the numbers
As of Friday afternoon:
- 116,000 Texans have been tested
- 11,449 Texans have tested positive
- 1,532 hospitalized
- 221 deaths
- 1,366 recoveries
“Every life that is lost is one too many,” Abbott said.
Texas ranks second-highest in the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19, Abbott said. He maintained that hospital capacity in Texas is still strong with more than 20,000 beds available and more than 7,000 ventilators.
Abbott said just this week, more than 3 million masks, 4 million gloves and 78,000 coveralls were distributed to health care facilities and first responders.
Abbott said although numbers continue to rise in Harris County, the number of cases seems to be tapering off compared to Dallas. The two most recent days are far below but a lot more information needs to be gathered to make predictions for Harris County.
He said he visited with Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo about the healthcare facility being built at NRG Park and is making sure the county receives more testing kits. He also said he discussed how to reduce the growth of cases.
Abbott said while other counties are seeing a downslope in cases, El Paso continues to trend upward in cases.
Overall, Abbott said there are signs of hope and success in Texas by slowing down the pace of growth and how he hopes to see it go down in the coming weeks.
Federal and local response
Abbott said he spoke with Vice President Mike Pence about what the federal government is doing to help Texas. He said he appreciates Pence and President Donald Trump for all that they are doing.
With many private companies now testing as well, Abbott said the number of Texans getting tested for coronavirus has increased.
Abbott announced the launch of a new online Frontline Child Care Website to help essential workers in Texas locate child care and support child care centers who are caring for these children during the outbreak.
“The Frontline Child Care Portal allows essential workers to search for child care facilities near them, as well as facility operating hours and the number of seats available,” Abbott’s office wrote in a press release after the news conference. “The website also helps parents find other basic information about child care including health and safety information and step-by-step instructions for applying for child care financial assistance.”
Unemployment benefits in Texas
Abbott said the Texas Workforce Commission added employees and staff from the Texas House and Senate to help them function 7 days a week due to the overwhelming number of Texans filing unemployment claims.
“Already, 363,335 claims paid, that total more than a quarter-billion dollars -- which is $318 million already been paid out," Abbott said. “Thanks to Congress and thanks to the (legislation) signed by the President, the amount of benefits being paid out will be larger than the amount for a longer period of time because of the money provided by Congress and the President.”
Heading into Easter weekend, Abbott said he hopes as Texans continue to work together while remaining apart and that every Texan is making a difference by staying home.
You can watch the stream in the video player below.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott provides coronavirus update.Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Friday, April 10, 2020