DALLAS — Texas is deploying an additional 2,500 out-of-state medical staffers to help with the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday.
The total number of additional staffers being funded by the state is now up to 8,100. Texas will pay for the extra help through the end of September, according to Abbott.
Abbott had initially authorized for Texas to deploy 5,600 staffers, mostly nurses and respiratory therapists.
The additional staffers "will provide crucial support to" hospitals and other health care facilities, Abbott said in a statement Thursday.
"Texans can do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and hospitalizations by getting the vaccine," Abbott said. "It's safe, effective, and your best defense against COVID-19."
The additional personnel will be coordinated through staffing agencies by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Abbott earlier this month also directed the DSHS and the Texas Division of Emergency Management to open more COVID-19 antibody infusion centers across Texas. The centers treat patients with therapeutic drugs in hopes of preventing their condition from worsening and requiring hospitalization.
Texas on Thursday was at 13,928 confirmed COVID-19 patients, according to state data. There were 306 intensive care beds available statewide, though several regions in Texas had no ICU beds available: Abilene, Waco, Bryan, Laredo and Corpus Christi.
An additional eight regions in the state had 10 or less ICU beds available.
Texas reached a peak of 14,218 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in January, amid the winter surge of cases.