TEXAS (KLTV) - The latest update from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows nine people have died from COVID-19 in the state.
The deaths were reported as coming from six counties. Four deaths have been reported in Dallas County while Bexar, Collin, Harris, Matagorda, and Tarrant Counties each reported one death each.
According to the Department, there are 410 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state at this time. A total of 11,167 people have reportedly been tested for the virus.
During his press conference Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said there are now 715 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state. He added that Johns Hopkins gave him a higher number and said there are now 810 cases in Texas. The difference in the latest numbers and the total that was listed earlier in the story could be because the DSHS has often been slow in updating the numbers on its website.
Abbott also said that there are now confirmed coronavirus cases in 65 of Texas’ 254 counties.
“We’re Texans. Texans are always resilient, and we will, once again, as we always do, show the world how Texans respond when we come together," Abbott said. “When we come together, nothing can defeat us. Instead, when we come together, we will defeat COVID-19 in the state of Texas,"
Abbott said the statewide goal is to test as many people as possible for the coronavirus. He said, as a result, there is a high demand for masks, gloves, gowns, and other personal protection equipment. The governor added that it is absolutely necessary for the people who screen for COVID-19, doctors, nurses, hospital staff members, and first responders to have access to that sort of equipment.
To facilitate getting PPE supplies and testing kits to Texas as soon as possible Abbott created a temporary Supply Chain Strike Force, " immediately naming Keith Miears, senior vice president of worldwide procurement at Dell Technologies, to serve as supply chain director for the state of Texas."
“Miears will be supported by former State Representative John Zerwas, MD, who will assist with hospital relations and preparedness, Clint Harp, vice president of transmission strategic services for the Lower Colorado River Authority, who will assist with asset research and procurement, and Elaine Mendoza, chair of the A&M Board of Regents, who will assist with statewide child care infrastructure for critical workers.,” a March 22 press release stated.
Abbott said this strike force has already been successful in its mission. He did his press conference in a warehouse area full of PPE gear and medical supplies that will be distributed all over the state of Texas.
The governor said between the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the strike force’s efforts, the state should be receiving about 1 million masks per week, starting next week.
Doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals, and private citizens are also donating medical supplies and PPE gear, Abbott said. He said people who want to donate PPE gear or medical supplies and folks who want to volunteer their time to help should go to https://texas.gov/.
During his press conference, Abbott announced a new executive order designed to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. He said that hospitals will now be required to submit daily reports on their hospital bed capacity and the number of COVID-19 tests conducted to the Department of State Health Services.
He also reiterated his previous executive orders and said even though many Texas counties have issued shelter-in-place orders, he has no plans to do that at the moment. He added that even though there is no statewide shelter-in-place order in effect, Texans are strongly urged to stay home unless there is a compelling need to go home like going to work at an essential job, going to get groceries, buying gas, or going to the doctor or the hospital.
However, Abbott said he is flexible and that could change in the future. He added that he communicates with health officials multiple times a day.