TEXAS, USA — Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation Friday, extending the disaster declaration for all Texas counties in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state of Texas.
The disaster declaration, originally issued March 13, provides Texas counties with COVID-19 resources needed to slow the spread.
"Extending this Disaster Declaration helps ensure that Texas has the resources and flexibility needed to effectively respond to COVID-19," said Governor Abbott. "To further mitigate the spread of the virus and overcome this challenge, Texans should continue to do their part by wearing a mask, social distancing, and staying home if possible."
As of July 9, Texas has more than 230,000 positive COVID-19 cases and 2,918 fatalities.
Abbott's mask order remains in effect, although he has given counties the opportunity to opt out if they have a low number of active coronavirus cases. More than 70 counties have opted out of the order and a handful of other local governments have insisted that they won't enforce the order even though they don't qualify for the opt-out provision.
In a press release announcing the order, Abbott said that "wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19."
Public health experts broadly agree that masks slow the spread of the virus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend face coverings for anyone 2 or older in public settings.
In an interview with CBS19 Abbott said a lack of masks and a spike in COVID-19 could, as a last resort, lead to "the necessity of closing Texas down."