AUSTIN, Tx. (KSLA) - Governor Greg Abbott along with the Texas Department of State Health Services Dr. John Hellerstedt and Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd held a press conference on how state leaders are going to tackle the coronavirus in Texas.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced orders restricting travel to Texas from some COVID-19 “hot spots."
Abbott said travel to and from Louisiana will be restricted to those handling essential services. He said this applies to travel by road from any location in the state of Louisiana and will be enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety at entry points into the state. The order does not apply to travel related to commercial activity, military service, emergency response, health response, or critical infrastructure functions. He also said people flying from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit and Chicago, California and Washington state into Texas must be self-quarantined.
Abbott has also signed an executive order which prohibits dangerous felons from being released early due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Releasing dangerous criminals makes the state even less safe,” Governor Abbott said. “It also complicates and slows our ability to respond to the disaster caused by COVID-19."
Abbott also announced the first facility in the state that will be set up as an alternative facility to treat COVID-19 patients and others. The first facility will be the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas which will be set up to expand healthcare facilities. Abbott said currently the center has the capacity to house 250 beds with the ability to massively expand that number should it be needed. He also said authorities will be looking around the state for possible alternative facilities to treat patients should it be needed.
Abbott also invited Major General Tracy Norris of the Texas National Guard to speak. Norris explained the governor has asked the Texas National Guard to join the efforts with their emergency responders throughout the state to assist in the response to COVID-19.
“Therefore, you will begin to see personnel in your communities as we deploy to bring aid and assistance and do everything we can to help those in need," Major General Norris said.
Norris said at present, the National Guard has been tasked with three primary missions. The first is providing personnel and equipment to support control and logistics measures. The second is providing communications capabilities for response operations. The third is to provide medical support such as drive-through testing support and acting as a force multiplier for the medical community through expanding hospital capacity and providing equipment as they are able.
Texas has at least 2,552 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 34 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Texas Department of State Health Services. There have been 25,483 tests done in the state.
Friday, March 28 -Gov. Abbott signed an executive order requiring those who travel from New Orleans and New York to self-quarantine for 14 days. They would have to report their self-quarantine location to the Department of Public Saftey.
The order applies to anyone flying into Texas.
“This is intended simply to achieve the goals that have been articulated by the CDC and the White House organization focused on reducing the spread of the coronavirus in the United States,” Abbott said during a news conference at the Texas Capitol in Austin.