Maintaining a roughly 10 percent testing rate increase each day, over 116,000 Texans have now been tested. Of those, 11,449 were confirmed positive — still registering at below 10 percent total of those tested.
Only 1,532 of positive coronavirus cases have resulted in hospitalizations. Abbott pointed to this as a point of positivity since a small amount of those who have tested positive have experienced serious enough complications to need more intensive care.
The number of those who have fully recovered from the disease in Texas is now 1,366. Abbott stated this ranks Texas as the second-highest in the nation in terms of recoveries. It’s important to note, however, that because of the 14-day free-of-symptom requirement to be considered “recovered,” these numbers are slow to be reported.
So far, 221 Texans have died from the coronavirus.
“If you compare it to other states, it may look like a relatively small number. But if you compare it to the hearts and souls of the households who have lost a member, it’s a number that’s far too large,” Abbott lamented.
Commending the healthcare workers’ efforts in minimizing the loss of life, he announced that tomorrow the state will be lighting up the governor’s mansion blue to honor those frontline workers.
Abbott also ran through graphs of numerous counties in Texas displaying the various statistics illustrating the crisis.
While most county’s positive test trend lines are either already flattening or beginning to flatten, El Paso remains an outlier with a more vertical trend than others. One possible explanation the governor provided is both that El Paso has a smaller population than other large cities and that COVID-19 reached the community later than other places in Texas.
Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Texas and former State Rep. John Zerwas, who is on the Governor’s response team, mentioned an important metric that shows improvement. The metric is the number of days it takes to double the positive cases in a specific area. In its most dire moments, Italy’s ratio was one to one and a half days. In the early stages of COVID-19 in the U.S., that rate was about three days. Now, it has increased to over six days.
The National Guard is working to set up a remote testing and care facility in Beaumont. A total of 1,058 National Guard troops have been deployed in Texas to respond to the crisis.
Abbott also announced the launch of an “Online Frontline Childcare Portal” for frontline healthcare workers in the state.
This serves as a database of licensed childcare centers across the state where frontline responders can go to find childcare capabilities near them.
Meanwhile, the number of unemployment claims flooding the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is at historic levels. So far, 363,335 total claims have been paid at a total of over $250 million. New workers have been hired by the TWC to meet the increased demand and legislative staffers have also begun assisting TWC in meeting those needs.
Governor Abbott has waived numerous regulations throughout this crisis to more easily enable responses by healthcare providers, food suppliers, and other industries. He continued the trend this week with an executive order allowing public notaries to approve documents over video.
Moving forward, Abbott added that he will be announcing a plan next week on “reopening the economy” which will focus on “the safety of Texan’s lives and their livelihoods.” In a conference call on Friday, Lt. Governor Patrick stated he hopes Texas’ economy can begin to reopen in May.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and 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 quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.