Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) says due to the "incredible efforts" of the state's supply chain team, there is now an abundant supply of personal protective equipment in Texas.
The governor made the announcement Tuesday during a visit to an emergency management warehouse in San Antonio.
Abbott said Tuesday that when the pandemic broke out most of the PPE was manufactured in other countries. For the state to be able to provide the PPE needed, Abbott said the state needed to develop a new supply chain operation. Due to those efforts, Abbott said, there is now, "abundant supply to make sure we will be able to continue to supply PPE to schools, to hospitals, to nursing homes, to testing sites, to any operation in the state of Texas that will need PPE in response to the pandemic."
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Abbott said the task force has been able to distribute 130 million masks, 33 million gloves, seven million gowns and more than four million face shields.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Monday instructed police to begin issuing $250 fines for flouting statewide mask orders in hopes that August will stamp out a grim summer resurgence of COVID-19 that is now responsible for at least 7,000 confirmed deaths in Texas.
Turner comes one month after Abbott mandated face coverings in the midst of a massive outbreak. Since then, Texas as a whole has seen encouraging trends in hospitalizations and infection rates, but Turner described August as a critical month as schools approach reopening and fall flu season lurks around the corner.
Texas reported more than three dozen new deaths from the virus Monday as the total number of deaths eclipsed 7,000, just two weeks after surpassing 4,000. But during that time, the rate of positive new cases has been trending downward and hospitalizations have leveled off around 9,000.
In Dallas, health officials reported the fewest number of daily new coronavirus cases in the surrounding county since mid-June, which officials credited to mask-wearing and more people staying home.
Later Tuesday, Abbott is expected to visit the hard-hit Rio Grande Valley for the opening of hospital beds in a convention center in McAllen, where officials for weeks have pressed for more capacity. “Unfortunately, the death toll continues to mount but I remain hopeful that August will be a better month.” Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said.