AUSTIN, Texas (KLTV/KTRE) - Governor Greg Abbott has announced that 1,766 Texans have recovered from COVID-19 during his press conference Friday afternoon.
Abbott said Texas is second in the nation in total recoveries. He explained for a person to be considered recovered, he or she has to remain symptom-free for 14 days. As a result, that number may lag behind a little, the governor said.
Abbott also said 221 Texans have died from the virus, and that 1,532 people have been hospitalized.
During the press conference, Abbott said that about 116,000 Texas have been tested for the COVID-19 virus. Of that number, 11,449 have tested positive for the coronavirus, he said. The number of positive cases is still less than 10 percent of the total number of people tested.
The Lone Star State has a capacity of 20,488 available beds for COVID-19 patients, Abbott said. Texas also has 2,248 ICU beds and 7,834 ventilators available if needed.
Later in the press conference, Abbott said it looks as though the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Texas has started to flatten out a bit. He added that the number of hospitalizations has remained fairly steady since April 1 despite more and more people getting tested for the coronavirus.
The governor then showed slides of some of the Texas counties with the largest numbers of COVID-19 cases. He said Bexar County, which includes, San Antonio, should start peaking soon, based on the most recent numbers. Abbott said that Dallas County’s numbers appear to be leveling off after a dramatic spike at the end of March.
Abbott said that Harris County continues to see a sharp increase in its COVID-19 cases. As a result, he recently spoke to the Harris County judge to see what the state of Texas could do to help. In response to the judge’s request for more hospital capacity, Abbott said the Army Corps, FEMA, and the National Guard have been looking at setting up a facility at the NRG Stadium to provide overflow capacity like the one that was set up in Dallas.
Dr. John Zerwas, the UT System executive vice chancellor of health affairs explained that in late March, the period of time it took for the number of COVID-19 cases in Texas to double was about three days. He said that number increased, which is an indicator that the measures taken by Abbott that called for social distancing and ordered Texans to stay at home have been working.
Next week, the governor’s office will start look at ways of re-opening Texas’ businesses, Abbott said.
“We will focus on protecting lives while restoring livelihoods,” Abbott said.
Abbott also said Texas officials are looking at setting up an online portal to help the state’s first responders find child care.
In addition, the Texas Workforce Commission has paid more than 363,000 unemployment claims to date, Abbott said.