AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Greg Abbott said next week he will issue an executive order outlining how he will start to open some Texas businesses back up. He didn’t go into specifics on which kind of businesses or how many will be included.
“We will focus on protecting lives while restoring livelihoods. We can and we must do this. We can do both. Expand and restore livelihoods that Texans want to have by helping them return to work,” Abbott said.
Abbott said so far social distancing guidelines are helping keep Texas hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with coronavirus cases. He used several graphs to show changes over time.
“The angle is laying down more. That means that we are beginning to slow the growth of the coronavirus. We’ve not yet reached the peak and begun on the decline yet,” said Abbott.
As for trends in Travis County, the governor seemed optimistic.
“Again, it’s too early to make any great pronouncements that Travis County is on the downslope, but, since about April 2, it looks like their numbers of people testing positive is definitely going in the right direction,” Abbott said.
Currently there are more than 11,400 people in the Lone Star State who have tested positive for COVID-19. About 1,500 of them are hospitalized and 221 have died.
“That’s a number that if you were to compare it to other states it would look like a relatively small number, but, if you compare it to the hearts and souls of the households who’ve lost a member, it’s a number that’s far too large,” said the governor.
Another graph used by the governor showed the time it is taking to double the number of confirmed cases. At first that was happening about every three days. Now it's up to more than six days.
“So, one thing I know people want, they want to see signs of hope, signs of success. This is a mathematical sign of success,” Abbott said.
Another ray of hope the governor pointed out is the 1,300 previously infected Texans who have recovered. “Of all these other states in the United States that have a far more infectious rate and far more people who have tested positive for COVID-19, Texas ranks second-most in the United States of America for the most people who have recovered from COVID-19,” he said.
The state still has about 20,000 hospital beds available to treat coronavirus patients, more than 2,000 of them in ICUs. There are also close to 8,000 ventilators on hand. The governor is hopeful they won't all be needed.
“By continuing to work together while remaining apart, we will save even more lives and we will turn more quickly to restarting our resilient economy to help lift up every family in the State of Texas,” said Abbott.
The governor also announced the state has created an online portal where frontline workers can find childcare close to their home or place of employment. He also will light up the governor's mansion in blue in honor of healthcare workers on Saturday night.
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