AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – Gov. Abbott announced that he would be extending his social distancing executive order until April 30 just two days after President Trump extended federal guidelines.
Two weeks ago, Abbott issued an order that put into law strict social distancing restrictions that had been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and backed by President Trump. They included:
- Bans on groups larger than 10 people
- All schools and gyms closed
- Bars and restaurants suspend in-house service
- Hospital and nursing home visits suspended unless providing care
That order was set to expire Friday, April 3 at 11:59 p.m. On Sunday, President Trump extended the federal guidelines until April 30, well past his original hope of Easter Sunday.
Texas schools will also remain closed until at least Monday, May 4. Several colleges and universities have made the decision to stay with online learning for the remainder of the semester, but district schools are making the decision as Gov. Abbott announces changes.
“I do have the authority to ensure that schools remain close for the remainder of the school year,” Abbott said Sunday, explaining that he would meet with Morath this week to discuss “his assessment of what needs to be done with regard to school closures.”
As of noon on Tuesday, Texas had tested nearly 43,000 residents with 3,266 testing positive for COVID-19. 41 patients have died as a result of the virus, including three East Texans.
All three of the deaths in East Texas occurred in patients who had underlying medical conditions.
Many jurisdictions around East Texas are under stay-at-home orders in a response to the coronavirus, most notably Smith County which has by far the highest number of cases of coronavirus with 32.
As of this writing, East Texas has 89 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Here is the tally kept by KETK News:
- Smith County – 36, 1 death
- Bowie County – 9, 1 death
- Van Zandt County – 2, 1 death
- Gregg County – 5
- Angelina County – 5
- Nacogdoches County – 4
- Polk County – 4
- Shelby County – 4
- Cherokee County – 3
- Harrison County – 3
- Rusk County – 3
- Cass County – 2
- Shelby County – 2
- Upshur County – 2
- Panola County – 1
- Morris County – 1
- San Augustine County – 1
- Hopkins County – 1
- Franklin County – 1
- Henderson County – 1
- Camp County – 1