AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott gave his first news conference since the first step in his plan to reopen Texas amid the outbreak happened Monday with the reopening of state parks.
Abbott said that other than the loss of life, the biggest impact of the state has been the blow to livelihoods. Millions of Texans have filed for unemployment. Around 1.5 million, or about 80% of those claims have been filled and $1.4 billion have been paid out. The state is working to address the remaining 20% quickly, Abbott said.
Texas has close to 500,000 jobs that are available right now, according to Abbott. Companies that are hiring statewide include H-E-B-, Amazon, Randalls and more. To find the openings, go to Workintexas.com.
In addition to going to the site, job seekers can also connect with local workforce boards to find a job. This service is of no cost.
Abbott presented a rough outline of a few of the industries hiring in different regions of Texas:
- Central Texas
- North Texas
- West Texas
- Sales operations centers
- Call centers
- Meat processing
- East Texas
- Manufacturing lumber
- South Texas
To find jobs for each region. you can go to your region’s workforce board. Take a look at these websites and explore the jobs that are available right now.
Impact of oil and gas price drop
According to Abbot, the volatile oil and gas market poses economic challenges for the state and nation. The governor said he has remained in contact with the White House to try and address the problems caused by the price drop. There is a flood of supply and a dry-up of demand, Abbott said.
According to Abbott, Trump is working to forge some kind of compromise with Saudi Arabia and Russia in an effort to reduce the surplus of supply. The president is also considering using strategic reserves as a “potential purchasing entity for the inflow of some of the excess supply,” Abbott said.
Even though what happened was unprecedented, Abbott said the truth is that over the history of oil and gas production, there have always been ups and downs. Texas and the nation have been challenged during those times but have seen time and again how the state and nation can rebound from the challenges, Abbott said.
Coronavirus in Texas
Abbott said there have been over 200,000 tested and of those, more than 19,000 have tested positive. Over time, the number of people testing positive remains at or under 10% despite the increase in tests being done, Abbott said.
The number of hospitalizations related to coronavirus is 1,491, which has also remained relatively steady, according to Abbott. There are 511 deaths in Texas, but Abbott said the loss of lives has been minimized to be a sheer fraction of what other states have seen. There are over 6,000 recoveries in the state, Abbott said.
According to the governor, the date that saw the highest number of positive tests was April 9, which had over 1,000 new cases. Texas has been below that all-time high four about two weeks now, Abbott said.
Abbott said the reason numbers are leveling off, is that Texans have done such a great job at reducing contact with others and following health guidelines. Abbott said that Texas as a state must continue to do all that it can to protect the vulnerable population.
According to Abbott, there are a lot of people who want to lend their services and help with the coronavirus response, including those who work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Texas has not experienced a shortage of healthcare workers, but Abbott said he still wants to encourage all medical personnel to register with the Texas Disaster Volunteer Registry at Texas.gov. Volunteers and facilities can use the site to find places that need help or request volunteers.
“We want to make sure (healthcare) facilities remain adequately staffed in order to respond to any type of COVID-19 spike,” Abbott said. “Especially as we go through the process of opening up Texas for more people to go back to work.”
The Texas National Guard is mobilizing more than 12,000 personnel to help with coronavirus testing, Abbott said. The teams will have the ability to collectively about 3,500 tests per day.
Abbott also said there are more than 60 drive-thru testing sites are operating across the state.
According to Abbott, people will now be allowed to buy online groceries during the COVID-19 using SNAP.
“Texas will begin allowing people to purchase groceries using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits,” Abbott said. “Texas received federal approval from the United States Department of Agriculture to begin rolling out a pilot program for expedited online purchasing as a SNAP option during the COVID-19 crisis.”
SNAP recipients can log into their account at yourtexasbenefits.com for information about the feature.