AUSTIN (KETK) — On Thursday afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott will host a briefing on precautionary steps the state is taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
Governor Abbot started by expressing his gratitude toward the President and Vice President who will be taking on the role of dealing with the spread of the coronavirus.
“The Texas state agencies have been working on this for well over a month now,” said Governor Abbott.
The DSHA, the Texas Department of State Health Services is the lead agency at the local level. They are working closely with the Texas division of emergency management to coordinate and plan for the state response to the coronavirus.
As of February 27, the Centers for Disease Control says there are 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus that have been contracted in the U.S. The origin of one case is unknown at this time, but of the other 14, 12 are travel-related and two were spread person-to-person.
That brings the total of cases to 60 that have traveled to the U.S. with 445 people who have been tested nationally.
“DSHA activated the state medical operations center on January 31,” said Governor Abbott. “That center serves as a touchpoint for any request from local entities and also ensures consistent collection, tracking, and reporting of public health and data.”
The Governor has been working with multiple agencies around the state so that communities and schools are equipped with the information necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“DSHA is updating public health response plans to be prepared for the possibility of community transmission of COVID-19 in Texas,” said Governor Abbott. “I’m not saying that’s happening, I just want you to know we are preparing for any possibility.”
To find more information about the information and preparation plans, you can visit dsha.texas.gov/coronavirus.
The DSHA has established capacity at the Center for Infectious Disease in San Antonio to reduce pressure on local hospitals. Care is being provided for the following types of patients: minor systems for those being tested for COVID-19, patients who are positive for COVID-19 with minor symptoms, patients who are recovering from COVID-19 but are no longer sick enough to remain in a hospital.
“What I have here is that five of the 144 individuals from the Diamond Princess that tested positive for COVID-19 as of February 26,” said Governor Abbott. “And all five are receiving care at the Texas Center for Infectious Disease.”
He went on to emphasize that Texas does not have an outbreak of COVID-19 and their job it to discuss precautionary measures in case that happens.
“DSHS and the Texas division of emergency management are planning to begin bi-weekly meetings right here with all relevant state agencies at the state operation center,” said Governor Abbott.
Speaking about the JBS-Lackland Airbase and the quarantine, Admiral Knight gave specific numbers and the progress of those repatriating into America.
“Currently we have 145 repatriated individuals who we are watching across our sites,” said Admiral Knight. “In terms of the positive cases of coronavirus in Texas, we have 10.”
Of the 10, two were individuals who had been from Wuhan cohorts and eight from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.
“Under quarantine, that basically means they are asymptomatic, we check them twice a day, we monitor them for fever as well as for the common symptoms which are cough and difficulty breathing,” said Admiral Knight.
As of Wednesday, the World Health Organization says there were 81,109 confirmed cases globally. Of these, the majority of cases are from China, where the disease originated.
As of now, there are 78,191 confirmed cases in China.