Gov. Abbott talks COVID-19 tests, reopening schools, bars

Updated: Aug. 10, 2020 at 7:00 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott joined Chris Horgen to talk about COVID-19 test turnarounds, reopening schools and bars.

“The state of Texas operations in labs themselves are doing a quick turnaround of 24-48 hours,” said Gov. Abbott. “The lag time is because of some of these commercial labs that are being used.”

Gov. Abbott said the state is trying to get away from using commercial labs.

“You are about to see the test turnaround not be several days, but be less than an hour. Because beginning maybe as early as next week, we will have quick turnaround, as in a 15 minute turnaround tests, used at nursing homes. We’re looking to achieve the same type of test results in our schools as schools begin to open up.”

Gov. Abbott then commented on the Georgia high school where viral photos showed hallways packed with people will temporarily close for cleaning after multiple staff and students tested positive for the coronavirus.

READ: Georgia school with large crowds reports positive virus cases, closes for cleaning

“I saw the picture that you may have made reference to about the Georgia school with the packed hallway, with kids shoulder to should without wearing masks. What you saw in that picture is different from the way schools in Texas are supposed to open up.”

Gov. Abbott says Texas schools are supposed to have the following:

  • All students wearing masks
  • Staggered openings
  • Some students attending one day, while others attend another
  • Different initial entry times
  • Some schools will have more spread out seating in the classroom and lunchroom

When asked about funding for bars that still must pay licensing fees even though they have been shut down by the state, Gov. Abbott said the Texan government wants to do everything it can to work with all of the businesses shut down due to no fault of their own.

“Whether it be funding from the federal government or funding from the state or funding from the CARES Act, there are multiple strategies that can be put in place to make sure that we address the needs of those who’ve lost their job or lost their business due to no fault of their own.”

For those that have lost their jobs, the $600 a week from the federal assistance is nearing it’s end, but Gov. Abbott says that the Trump Administration is continuing negotiations in the Senate and the House for a reformed package to provide full funding for those unemployment benefits.

The Trump Administration has also said they will take some money from FEMA and put it towards the unemployment funding so long as the states chip in money on top of that.

“If the current strategy remains in place states have the option to use the CARES Act funding that we already have to pay for the state’s share of that.”

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