Amarillo Surge Response Cuts COVID-19 New Cases to Zero: Abbott

Amarillo area meatpacking workers hit hard by 2019 novel coronavirus

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the state's surge response team sent to Amarillo has helped take control of the outbreak in the region.

Abbott called on health care professionals and members of the Texas National Guard to head to the Panhandle after cases of the virus began surfacing among meatpacking workers in area plants that work to supply the country with 25% of its beef supply.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the state’s surge response team has helped drop new cases of COVID-19 in the Amarillo area to zero after an explosion of cases earlier this month at meatpacking plants, nursing homes and a jail.

The surge teams arrived in the area to provide PPE and increase testing in the surrounding counties. Abbott said by May 13 just under 5,700 people had been tested in the region and that over the next 12 days that number had doubled.

Abbott said with the increased testing, the surge team confirmed 734 new cases of the virus. Since that time, Abbott said, the number of new cases has trickled down and that on May 25 and May 26, zero new positive cases had been confirmed.

The governor said Wednesday that the hot spots in the Amarillo area were on a pathway toward a positive resolution due to the actions undertaken by the surge team.

"We needed help. We asked for help and help came," said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson, who said while they were excited they slowed the spread of the virus, they recognize they have challenges to face in their ongoing recovery.

Abbott was joined in Amarillo by Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson, and Amarillo Public Health Director Casie Stoughton.

Prior to the press conference, Abbott was expected to meet with Amarillo officials and local Amarillo legislators including State Senator Kel Seliger (R-District 31) and State Representatives Four Price (R-District 87), John Smithee (R-District 86), and Ken King (R-District 88).

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