AUSTIN (Nexstar) — On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott explained the latest on Texas’ response to COVID-19.
“There’s actually good news with regard to the arc,” said Abbott.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the state has surpassed 20,000 cases, 500 fatalities and 200,000 tests administered:
- Over 205,399 people tested — there were 169,000 just days ago
- 20,196 positive tests performed
- Over 1,400 hospitalizations
- 6,486 recovered patients
- 517 deaths — rate is on the decline as of Tuesday, Abbott said
Abbott said that numbers, on the whole, are staying about the same or decreasing. He said that in regard to hospitalizations, recovered patients are leaving and then being replaced by new positive patients — keeping the hospitalization rate about the same (around 14-15 per day).
“We have roughly the same number of people who are hospitalized every day.”
The Governor explained that even with increased testing statewide, still only about 10% of tests return positive.
Given these numbers, Abbott says Texas is nowhere near reaching its hospital bed capacity.
Abbott also touched on his plans to “get Texans back to work,” saying that a program is coming soon.
“There is one thing that we really wanted to focus on today… We know Texans really want to get back to work,” said Abbott. “It’s part of the Texan DNA.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 1.5 million Texans filed for unemployment. In Austin and its surrounding counties, more than 43,000 have applied for jobless benefits.Texas Workforce Solutions Capital Area
The Governor said that while many are worried about their employment, there are steps that can be taken right now, from home, saying there are nearly 500,000 jobs available in the state, “just waiting for you.”
Abbott gave a list of online resources that Texans can use to find employment opportunities, which the Governor explained are in a variety of sectors, including technology and, of course, health care.
Resources include, WorkInTexas.com, a job matching and workforce solution tool where applicants can find listings.
By plugging in your zip code, you can access positions, companies and salaries.
Texas Workforce Solutions Capital Area CEO Tamara Atkinson said there are a number of openings in Austin and its surround counties. She said she sees immediate openings in school districts, banks and grocery stores. She said it should spark positivity for those without a job.
“We’ve got jobs available right now in entry, mid and management level for individuals. So wherever your skill set is now, it’s highly likely we can match you to a job with that existing skill set,” Atkinson said. “We have a diverse economy and a community that is pulling together and a strong safety net.”
Employment resources and job listing sites are also available by region, the Governor explained. Those are:
- North Central Texas — DFWJobs.com
- Greater Dallas — WFSDallas.com
- Tarrant County — WorkforceSolutions.net
- Texoma — WorkforceSolutionsTexoma.com
- North Texas — NTXWorkSolutions.org
- Northeast Texas — NETXWorkforce.org
- Deep East Texas — DETWork.org
- Brazos Valley — BVJobs.org
- East Texas — EastTexasWorkforce.org
- Gulf Coast — wrksolutions.com
- Southeast Texas — SETWorks.org
- Cameron County — WFSCameron.org
- South Texas — SouthTexasWorkforce.org
- Lower Rio Grande Valley — WFSolution.org
- Middle Rio Grande Valley — WFSMRG.org
- Coastal Bend — WorkforceSolutionsCB.org
When the Governor announced last week plans to slowly reopen the Texas economy, some of Abbott’s opponents pointed to inadequate testing capacity.
Gov. Abbott announced Monday 1,200 Texas National Guard members will mobilize to help run new testing sites around the state. Teams of 45 people will be sent out to areas that need more access to COVID-19 testing.
At Tuesday’s conference, the Governor added, “When all teams are fully deployed, which will be later on this week. They will have the capability to collectively test about 3500 people per day.”
The teams will have 34 soldiers, plus 11 medical professionals and support staff. Mobile testing units will have the capacity to test 150 people per day. The first two teams are headed to Fredericksburg and Floresville, Abbott said. Floresville is located southeast of San Antonio. The remaining 23 teams will be dispatched at the direction of the Department of State Health Services where the need is greatest.
“The State of Texas continues to expand our COVID-19 testing capacities and ensure that communities across the Lone Star State have access to the resources they need,” Gov. Abbott said.
So far, the Texas Military Department has deployed over 2,500 Guardsmen at Abbott’s direction to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Abbott also said his team of medical advisors is working on a plan make even more testing available in the near future, especially as the state begins to reopen.
“They’re 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,” Gov. Abbott said, “That will require an increase of up to anywhere between 25 and 30,000 tests per day.”
Abbott announced the framework of his phased plan to reopen the state’s economy on Friday, detailing a layered approach that includes allowing businesses to reopen with “retail to-go” models, loosening some hospital surgery restrictions and reopening state parks. Abbott said Texas classrooms would remain closed through the rest of the school year, but the Texas Education Agency said at-home learning would continue. Abbott also formed a strike force of state leaders and business executives to advise him on strategies for the economic reopening.