AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Greg Abbott said COVID-19 trends in Texas are headed in the right direction, which is why he plans to release an executive order April 27 outlining the next steps to reopen the state's economy.
The governor said that will be contingent on a plan to increase testing as well as contact tracing, but claims the state's coronavirus response team is already working with business owners to outline ways they can operate safely.
“They are working on a testing and tracing strategy that will outline exactly how we’re going to go about the process of doing what is needed to be able to monitor our communities for any potential expansion of COVID-19. That will require an increase of up to anywhere between 25 and 30,000 tests per day,” said Abbott.
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 205,000 Texans had been tested for COVID-19. About 20,000 of them tested positive.
Still, even though the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, the governor said hospitalizations have remained relatively the same.
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"One thing that has set Texas apart from some of the other states in the face of the harshest catastrophic consequences of COVID-19, is that we have not come close to needing to use all of the hospital bed capacity that we’ve seen in some other states,” Abbott said.
Although Texas has only tested about 1 out of every 141 people in the state, the governor pointed to signs of hope. Almost 6,500 Texans have recovered and, since April 9, there hasn't been a single day with more than 1,000 new positive cases, according to Abbott.
“Deaths continue to trend down as do positive tests, and hospitalizations remain flat to slightly down, so all the numbers are trending well,” said Abbott.
Come Monday, the governor will release the next steps in his plan to reopen businesses.
“The good news is Texas is prepared to take very positive steps in opening up our state and finally ensuring that we’re going to have more of our employees going back to work, more of our employers opening the doors for their employees as well as for customers,” Abbott said.
He said the state currently has close to half a million job openings, many of them in healthcare and technology industries. Meanwhile, the governor said the Texas Workforce Commission has already filled more than 1.5 million unemployment claims.
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