Gov. Abbott expands travel restrictions, gives update on COVID-19 response

Local News

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a press conference in which he issued another executive order on March 24, 2020, which in part, requires all hospitals to report bed capacity to the state. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott gave an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Sunday and issued two executive orders.

During the press conference, Abbott gave an update on hospital capacity and the number of COVID-19 cases in the state of Texas and issued two executive orders on travel restriction and prison release.

According to the governor, more than 25,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Texas with 2,552 testing positive.

Among those who tested positive, 176 needed hospitalization, said Abbott.

There have been 34 deaths related to COVID-19 in Texas as of Sunday.

“Most of these numbers that we’ve seen so far are the result of personal interactions before the distancing practices,” said Abbott. “So hopefully the numbers improve as we move ahead.”

Abbott issued two executive orders on Sunday.

The first executive order restricted road travel from any location in Louisiana.

This order will not restrict travel for commercial, emergency, military, critical infrastructure or health response reasons.

Abbott also announced that passengers from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, and states of Washington and California will be placed into quarantine.

The second executive order stops the release of dangerous felons from prisons in Texas.

Abbott also proclaimed that the number of beds for COVID-19 patients is increasing to meet potential demands for space.

“We want to make sure we have the capacity in the state of Texas to take care of people with COVID-19,” said Abbott.

According to Governor Abbott, the number of Texans positive with COVID-19 who need hospitalization is less than two percent than the capacity we have in hospitals.

Abbott stated that this means that the state of Texas has more than enough space to treat patients.

However, Abbott stated that they are actively looking to make changes.

“Our job is not to see where we are today and be satisfied,” said Abbott. “Our job is to look one, two, three weeks ahead and make sure Texas is able to meet the needs of your communities.”

Abbott deployed the National Guard Brigade task force to help with the infrastructure  of healthcare facilities.

The task force is looking at places that could be used as hospitals, such as closed hospitals, convention centers, or vacant hotels.

The first facility of this manner will be the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, which will house 250 beds for healthcare use. 

Abbott assured that although this is a tough time, the state of Texas can make it through this.

“This is not the first time Texas has been tested by a challenge,” said Abbott. “Regardless of the challenge, Texans have always been up to the challenge.”

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