The Texas Department of State Health Services will send additional medical staff and equipment to hospitals and nursing homes across the state to help in their fight against the ongoing fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who reinforced his ban on mandatory COVID-19 vaccines Wednesday while continuing to fight school districts in court over his block on mask mandates even as cases of coronavirus surge in schools, announced the additional support for the state's medical workers Thursday afternoon.
According to a statement from the governor's office, an additional 2,500 medical personnel are being authorized to join the staff at health care facilities statewide through the end of next month.
On Aug. 9, Abbott said the state would pay for staffing agencies to provide 5,600 out-of-state medical workers, mostly nurses and respiratory therapists, to Texas hospitals and health care providers through Sept. 30. The additional staff authorized by the DSHS now brings the number deployed across the Lone Star State to 8,100.
The DSHS is also providing ventilators, oxygen concentrators, heart monitors, IV pumps, feeding pumps, and hospital beds requested by health care providers.
"The medical personnel and equipment deployed by DSHS will provide crucial support to our health care facilities as they treat hospitalized cases of COVID-19," said Abbott in a prepared statement.
Though he's blocked governmental agencies and state-supported businesses from mandating their employees get vaccinated against the virus, the governor did again remind Texans Thursday that one of the best mitigation strategies to curtail the spread of COVID-19 is immunization.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
"Texans can do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and hospitalizations by getting the vaccine. It's safe, effective, and your best defense against COVID-19," Abbott said in a statement. "Visit covidvaccine.texas.gov to find a vaccine provider near you."
Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows where COVID-19 vaccines have been sent around the state. Click on a marker to find out information about each location. Use the "plus" and "minus" signs below to zoom in and out of the map.
From the Texas DSHS: Availability of COVID-19 vaccines lilsted on this map are based on shipping information and reporting to the DSHS directly by facilities. Please contact providers in advance to confirm vaccination location and hours, that they have vaccine on hand and that you are eligible for vaccination at that site. Not all providers are vaccinating the public or people in all priority groups. Vaccine is available at no charge, regardless of insurance status.
The governor, who was infected with the virus last week, said in a video message on Twitter that his infection was "brief and mild" because he'd been vaccinated and he recommended those who have not yet been vaccinated to consider getting vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends anyone over the age of 2 who is not vaccinated wear a mask while indoors. Further, the CDC says that even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask indoors when they are in an area of substantial or high transmission, which includes most of the state of Texas.