AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the state has been experiencing positive trends in its efforts to combat COVID-19.
In a briefing on Tuesday, Abbott said more people are getting tested and about 10 percent of those people are testing positive. He said so far, 205,000 people have been tested statewide so far compared to the 169,000 tests that were administered about four days ago.
“We continue this ongoing increase in the number of people who are being tested,” said Abbott.
There are a total of 1,491 people across the state currently being treated in hospitals, according to Abbott. He said that number has remained “relatively the same” and has stayed at about 1,450 per day.
“We are very well equipped in the state of Texas to address healthcare needs of anyone who may test positive for COVID-19,” said Abbott.
In addition, Abbott provided a more in-depth look at testing data and said the date with the highest number of people testing positive was Thursday, April 9. He said that’s the only day so far that resulted in 1,000 or more positive tests.
Last week, the governor issued three executive orders that outline how to reopen the state, and on Tuesday, Abbott reported 500,000 jobs open in the state.
“Texas is prepared to be taking positive steps towards opening our state and ensuring our employees are going back to work,” said Abbott.
He introduced a new online tool called Workforce Solutions where job seekers and employers can see who is hiring and what services are available, all at no cost.
“You’re not going to this and pay something in order to be connected to a job,” said Abbott. “This is a service the state of Texas provides where we want to connect employers with employees.”
The tool is divided by region. Job seekers and employers in the Houston-area can get more information at https://setworks.org/.
So far, state parks reopened with certain restrictions.
Starting Monday through May 8 at 11:59 p.m., all licensed health care professionals and licensed health care facilities must continue to postpone surgeries and procedures that are not medically necessary to diagnose or correct a serious medical condition or save a patient’s life.
Exceptions can now include:
Any procedure that would not deplete the hospital capacity or the PPE needed to cope with COVID-19 Any surgery or procedure performed in a licensed health care facility that has certified in writing it will reserve at least 25% of its hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients and that it will not request any PPE from any public source, whether it be federal, state or local for the duration of the COVID-19 disaster.
FULL VIDEO: ‘Step by step, we will open, Texas’
According to the governor, more than 1 million Texans have filed for unemployment.
The second executive order focuses on the retail sector and what the governor says will be the safe and strategic reopening of select services and activities in Texas.
Abbott said all retailers in Texas should be allowed to operate with to-go strategies, beginning next Friday, April 24. Under this to-go model, reopened businesses will be required to deliver items to customers’ cars, homes or other locations to minimize contact. To look up participating businesses, go to dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.
Under this order, the governor made a major announcement about schools, saying that all classrooms will remain closed for the rest of the school year. Teachers will be allowed to go into the classroom for video instruction or to clean out classrooms.
This includes public and private schools and universities.
Abbott said any employees who may be concerned about going back to work should not be coerced, but should feel safe in the workplace. He added employers have a responsibility to make sure safe practices are maintained.
Additional openings will be announced on April 27, and the third phase will be announced in May, based on input from medical advisers.
The governor stressed the phases will require “comprehensive testing and assurances of hospital readiness for COVID-19 patients. They will focus on containing the risk of resurgence of COVID-19 and protecting our most vulnerable Texans.” The opening of more venues such as restaurants and movie theaters will also be considered.
“Together, we can bend the curve. Together, we can overcome this pandemic. We can get folks back to work. We can adopt safe strategies that prevent the spread of COVID-19 and step by step, we will open, Texas,” Abbott said.
The governor’s announcement came on the heels of a three phase federal plan to get back to work introduced by President Trump on Thursday.
READ MORE: Trump unveils phased approach to reopening economy amid coronavirus outbreak
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