AUSTIN, Texas — An executive order regarding plans to the reopen Texas businesses is expected to come sometime soon, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott revealed at a press conference on April 10.
Gov. Abbott didn't offer additional details on the executive order but said the State was focusing on protecting lives while also restoring livelihoods.
Gov. Abbott is expected to announce a plan to eventually reopen Texas businesses on Friday, April 17.
At the press conference, the governor was joined by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd and Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Texas System John Zerwas, MD.
The governor gave several updated numbers regarding COVID-19 at the press conference, including the total number of Texans tested, approximately 116,000; the number of Texans who have tested positive for COVID-19, 11,449; confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations, 1,532; total COVID-19 related deaths, 221; and a new statistic, the number of Texans who have recovered from COVID-19, 1,336.
According to Gov. Abbott, before being categorized as recovered, the person must go 14 days without the virus.
Additionally, the governor said there are currently more than 20,000 hospital beds available with 2,448 intensive care unit beds available and 7,834 ventilators.
Gov. Abbott said that while the number of new cases of COVID-19 is starting to level off, Texas has not yet reached its peak.
Gov. Abbott discussed the trends of new viruses in several major counties in the state.
Several counties, including Dallas, Bexar and Travis counties appear to be heading towards the peak of the virus but it is still too soon to say, according to Gov. Abbott.
Gov. Abbott also announced the new Frontline Child Care website, a resource to help essential workers to child care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with KVUE days before the press conference, Hellerstedt said that, compared to areas like New York City and the New York tri-state area, the State of Texas is in better shape.
In a Facebook Live posted Friday night, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said City of Austin officials are also starting to discuss how to get the City and Austin businesses operating again while continuing to make plans for a possible surge in COVID-19 cases in the area.
Adler said the City needs to plan for gradual and incremental reopenings and that officials are consulting with experts in the business community, but decisions will be made with the priority of maintaining public health.
Adler said he thinks social distancing will be in place in Austin-Travis County for some time but that he believes "we can find the right balance, something we can maintain for some period of time." He said what the area is doing right now continues to save lives.
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