Texas Gov. Greg Abbott provided updated statistics about coronavirus testing and treatment in Texas at an April 21 press conference and said the spread of the virus is beginning to level off, signaling the beginning of a return to normalcy for Texans.
Abbott said at the press conference that the number of people tested across Texas has gone from 160,000 to exceeding 205,000 within the last few days. With the state’s population around 30 million, this means about 1 in every 140 Texans have been tested for the virus. However, Abbott added that the lack of a “meaningful outbreak” is good news in regard to the flattening of the coronavirus curve.
“The good news is that Texas is prepared to be taking very positive steps toward opening up our state,” he said at the conference.
The coronavirus has killed 511 people in Texas as of April 21, Abbott said. The number is still increasing, but the number of new fatalities has declined in the last several days, he said.
“The loss of lives in Texas has been minimized to a sheer fraction of what we've seen in some other states,” he said.
Personal protective equipment, including 4.8 million masks, 453,000 face shields and 16,000 gowns, has been provided to hospitals by the state, Abbott said. Just under 1,500 people have been hospitalized for conditions related to coronavirus, a number that Abbott said has remained relatively the same. Nearly 6,500 people that tested positive for the coronavirus have recovered, Abbott said.
Since more people are testing positive each day but hospitalizations remain stagnant, this is a good sign in terms of patient recovery, he added.
“[The] bottom line is that we are very well-equipped in the state of Texas to address the health care needs of anybody who may test positive for COVID-19,” he said.The governor announced April 20 that 1,200 members of the Texas National Guard will be mobilized throughout the state to operate mobile coronavirus testing sites. He gave details April 21 about the teams that will ensure expansion of testing sites across 25 regions, which will be defined by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The teams, which will be deployed later this week, will each be capable of testing an additional 3,500 people per day, Abbott said.
The governor will announce a new executive order April 27 intended to outline some of the next steps in reopening Texas. He said the order will have statewide applications, meaning that it will supersede any local government’s coronavirus regulations such as stay-at-home orders.