HOUSTON – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an order Sunday, extending the disaster declaration for all Texas counties in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The declaration provides the state with many resources to effectively serve Texans against the fight to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, according to the governor’s office.
“By extending my Disaster Declaration, we are ensuring the state of Texas continues to have adequate resources and capabilities to support our communities and protect public health,” Abbott said. “I urge all Texans to continue practicing social distancing and abide by the guidelines laid out by the CDC and my Executive Orders to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
Abbott initially issued the order on March 13.
The governor’s proclamation stated that the coronavirus poses an immediate threat of disaster for all of Texas.
Texas officials said Sunday about 13,500 state residents had tested positive for the COVID-19, and 271 had died. Harris County has the most confirmed cases with more than 3,500 positive tests, followed by Dallas County with over 1,600, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
About 1,300 people are hospitalized from coronavirus-related complications, according to the state health department. More than 2,000 have recovered.
In preparation for an influx of new patients and an overwhelmed healthcare system, Harris County invested $11 million for an emergency healthcare facility at NRG Park.
In the meantime, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said there is a dire need to test more residents. On Saturday, he announced that, with the help of the federal government, the city and county testing sites would be doubling its testing capacity.
“We need more testing, especially in high poverty areas and in vulnerable communities,” Turner said.