AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Governor Greg Abbott said Amarillo will now be able to move forward in Phase II of reopening Texas with the rest of the state.
Governor Abbott was joined by Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson and Amarillo Public Health Director Casie Stoughton.
The governor said Amarillo is an example of how Texas is going about responding to COVID-19 in this stage of the virus.
Surge response teams work to identify hotspots in Texas where there is an increase in people testing positive. Those typically relate to nursing homes, meat packing plants and jails or prisons.
However, Abbott said Amarillo has gone through the challenge of facing all three hotspots overlapping.
Kidd said that 130 members of the surge team are still in Amarillo at this time.
Abbott showed Amarillo’s COVID-19 trends, which showed the area’s new positive cases decreasing. Some days had no new cases.
“Amarillo has turned the corner on its pathway to positive, effective resolution of this particular hotspot,” said Gov. Abbott.
Because of Amarillo turning the corner, the city can now be part of the process to allow Texas to open the economy.
However, Abbott said Amarillo should expect to see a spike in positive cases later this week due to an extreme addition of tests conducted at the JBS Beef plant.
After that spike, he says Amarillo should continue on a downward trend in those testing positive.
Mayor Nelson thanked the governor and the agencies that responded to help Amarillo in the surge.
“We needed help, we asked for help, and help came,” said Mayor Nelson.
She addressed some needs that Amarillo will have going forward, some of those being more internet coverage in the Panhandle and economic development opportunities.
“We are excited about being out of this situation, but we recognize we have challenges yet to be faced," said Mayor Nelson.
In the news conference, Abbott also discussed plans for a second or third spike in COVID-19 cases in Texas.
He said the state is prepared to send surge response teams using the model of what they saw in Amarillo. He said Texas now has a robust supply chain team aggregating masks, gowns and face guards.
Abbott also said the state is adding as many testing supplies and medicines as possible, and the key strategy moving forward is to make sure there is always enough hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators available for those who need them.
You can watch the full video below: