Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issues new executive orders to help medical facilities during COVID-19 outbreak

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued two new executive orders on Sunday to help medical facilities slow the spread of the coronavirus.

He waived some regulations to address the nurse shortage and ordered the postponement of all unnecessary medical procedures.

Abbott said that he will not issue a statewide stay at home order at this time, adding that he is "governor of 254 counties in the state of Texas. More than 200 of those counties still have zero cases testing positive."

The governor said he is leaving stay at home orders up to local governments at this time, but added that he is flexible and things could change. 

"Cases are increasing in places like Dallas, Houston, and other areas. What may be right in urban areas may not be right in counties that have zero cases," Gov. Abbot said.

He also confirmed that there have been six COVID-19 deaths in the state. He said 8,700 people in Texas have been tested total in total, with less than 10 percent testing positive.

Gov. Abbott was joined by the Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt and the Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd during his announcement.

The Texas National Guard will be mobilized this week to assist at hospitals and drive-thru testing facilities.

Previously, Gov. Abbott declared a state disaster for all Texas counties and then put an executive order in place that closed dine-in restaurants, bars, gyms across the state. That went into effect on Friday, March 20.

All schools in the state were also ordred to close through April 3, and must look for online learning opportunities.

RELATED: Coronavirus coverage

This comes a day after Dallas and Tarrant counties amended their local disaster declarations to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Dallas County put a limit on toilet paper purchases, and ordered all hair salons, nail salons, and barber shops to close.

While Tarrant County stopped all in-person worship services, but allowed for church staff to stream their services online.

Coronavirus health tips

While COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus, daily precautions recommended to prevent respiratory illnesses are the same:

•  Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when you can't wash your hands.

•  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

•  Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, use the elbow of your sleeve. Don’t use your hands to cover coughs and sneezes.

RELATED: Coronavirus FAQ: Here’s what you need to know about the COVID-19 outbreak

•  Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

•  Stay home when you are sick and keep children home when they are sick.

•  Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

•  Get a flu shot. (Although the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, it is flu season.)


Track Texas coronavirus cases by county with this interactive map

Dallas County reports its 2nd COVID-19 death, along with 36 new cases

Dallas County places limit on toilet paper purchases; Hair & nail salons, barber shops ordered to close

Tarrant County announces new restrictions, including closing in-person church services

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