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Pool Report: Texas Governor gives travel, hospital bed space, ICU bed update

Photo by Jerry Jordan/SETINVESTIGATES

Eleanor Dearman, El Paso Times:

AUSTIN – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was joined by Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd and former state Rep. John Zerwas for the update at the TX Department of Public Safety warehouse in Austin.

Behind him were rows of boxes of PPE (gloves, gowns, masks).

Abbott opened news conference by detailing a telephone conference he had earlier in the day. Vice President Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx were among those on call. Birx said mitigation efforts are working, Abbott says.

“She said that we are getting close to beginning to bend the curve, but also she made clear that if we let up now all of our efforts that have led us to this point will have been for nothing,” Abbott said.

Abbott gave an update on travel restrictions in Texas. He said restrictions on people being able to fly into the state from “hot spot zones” remain in-tact. That includes Miami, Atlanta, Tri-state area around NYC, Detroit and Chicago.

Last week Abbott announced TX DPS would start pulling over vehicles crossing the border from Louisiana into Texas. A 14-day self-quarantine is required. “Beginning yesterday the Texas Department of Public Safety has now altered that policy to increase enforcement by establishing checkpoints from all border crossings from Louisiana into the state of Texas,” Abbott said.

Abbott noted Texas City nursing home where a number of people there have tested positive for COVID-19. He said about 30 patients are being tested with hydroxychloroquine and are in the second day of treatment.

Abbott said as of today there have been 85,357 Texans who have been tested for COVID-19. 7,319 have tested positive. He said the number of those testing positive continues to remain less than 10% of everyone tested.

Abbott said the state is expected to exceed 100,000 in the number of people tested. Abbott said there are 1,153 confirmed hospitalizations and 140 fatalities.

Abbott said that as of today there are 21,033 available hospital beds statewide, including 2,223 ICU beds.

Last week Abbott said 8,857 ventilators available. Today there are 6080, Abbott said.

In the past week 1,676,510 face masks, 209,856 face shields, 2,721,350 gloves, 169,231 gowns and 7,594 coveralls have been distributed across the state in the past week, Abbott said.

Local breakdowns and full presentation with more details linked here: https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/FINAL_SUPPLY_CHAIN_UPDATE_4.6..20.pdf

“The good news is those numbers are continuing to increase,” Abbott said. “Additional masks, which is the part of PPE that most people are asking for, they are on the way.”

Abbott said the state has received 2.5 million masks in the last 24 hours.

“In addition to that, later this week we will be receiving an additional 3 million masks,” Abbott said.

Abbott said this PPE comes in “primarily through entities that our new supply chain team is working to contract with.” Abbott says the state does continue to receive some supplies through the federal government, especially FEMA.

Abbott says he thinks most of the supplies the state is receiving is being received as a result of the supply chain team. Abbott says the supplies are distributed “primarily to healthcare facilities across the state of Texas that need access to them.” Says this is in addition to supplies the facilities are already receiving independently through pre-existing supply chains before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Noted a portal at www.texas.gov that can lead to access to more supplies.

VIDEO FROM TEXAS/LOUISIANA COVID-19 CHECKPOINT

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