AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Greg Abbott says more supplies are coming to healthcare workers and first responders in Texas amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and he’s confident about the state’s supply.
Doctors and nurses have sounded the alarm repeatedly the past few weeks as the number of cases continue to grow, but Abbott said the state has distributed numerous PPE items and continues to acquire more.
“I feel more confident now than I ever have with regard to access to PPE supplies,” Abbott said during a Monday news conference.
Officials said more than 1.6 million masks had been distributed in the past week to healthcare workers and first responders in Texas, along with 2.7 million gloves, nearly 210,000 face shields, nearly 170,000 gowns and 7,500 coveralls.
Of that, the Dallas-Fort Worth area received 370,000 masks, 681,000 gloves, 56,600 face shields, 53,000 gowns and 1,900 coveralls.
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Abbott said 2.5 million masks had been acquired in the past 24 hours and three million more will be in the state by April 11.
Officials said healthcare workers in coronavirus hot zones would be the priority when distributing supplies along with first responders.
Abbott also said about 30 nursing home residents near Houston who tested positive for the coronavirus are receiving treatment with an anti-malaria drug not yet approved for fighting COVID-19.
The drug was being given to residents who tested positive at a Texas City nursing home where more than 80 residents and staff members have tested positive. President Donald Trump has promoted the drug but medical officials warn that it's dangerous to be hawking unproven remedies. The drug’s success is mostly anecdotal and has not been widely proven as effective.
Abbott also detailed efforts to stem the flow of the virus from Louisiana, where a major outbreak has occurred.
DPS checkpoints now exist along the Texas-Louisiana border to make certain people driving from the state into Texas adhere to the 14-day self-quarantine.
“We know that you’re neighbors, we know that you’re friends. We know that we both share the same approach and that is we have to do all we can together to make sure that we mitigate the expansion of COVID-19 in our collective states,” Abbott said. “This is a temporary situation.”
As of Monday: 85,357 Texans have been tested for COVID-19, 7,319 have tested positive for the virus, 1,153 hospitalized and 140 have died.