In a Sunday afternoon press conference, Governor Greg Abbott issued two new executive orders addressing coronavirus and updated an existing order.
The first is a prohibition on local law enforcement releasing “dangerous felons” from jails and prisons in response to COVID-19.
Secondly, Abbott declared a prohibition on road travel from Louisiana to Texas. New Orleans has become a hotbed of the virus with over 3,500 reported cases so far. The governor said that those who travel from Louisiana must self-quarantine for 14 days.
Last week, Abbott issued an executive order mandating a 14-day quarantine for air travelers from certain areas, including New Orleans.
Today, he expanded the 14-day quarantine order to the cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and Miami and states of California and Washington.
The governor provided an update on Texas’ COVID-19 numbers. As of today, Texas has 2,552 positive cases with 34 deaths — a death rate of 1.3 percent. Abbott said testing capabilities are rapidly increasing with 25,483 tests having been conducted thus far.
Of those tested, less than 10 percent have tested positive. And of those who have tested positive, less than 10 percent have required hospital admission.
Overall, COVID-19 cases amount to less than two percent of the state’s hospital capacity.
With these numbers, the actual may be higher if those who have not been tested do not realize they have the virus. But improving testing capabilities will continue to paint a more accurate picture.
COVID-19 has spread to 118 of Texas’ 254 counties.
The governor also announced the creation of the state’s first National Guard-run pop-up treatment facility. Dallas’ Kay Bailey Convention Center is the confirmed location and will initially have a 250-person capacity, “with the ability to expand.”
In a different tone from his press conference last Sunday, “We are on a very good trajectory. I expect that to increase.” His encouragement stems from the rapid testing increase, which he said amounted to an over 1,000 percent jump over the last week.
“With the additional testing that is taking place every single day, that means during the course of the day there will be more people added to those numbers. As a result, there very likely could be even more people testing positive by the end of the business day today.”
As the situation evolves, the governor said he will continue to be flexible in his assessments and decisions.
The state has yet to institute a shelter order, but numerous local governments have with the state’s encouragement.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.