AUSTIN, Texas - With lives and the economy hanging in the balance, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been working closely with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to fight the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available. Check back often for the latest details and what Texans need to know about COVID‑19.
A LOOK BACK AT TEXAS' RESPONSE TO COVID-19
The first U.S. case of COVID-19 was reported in a man in Washington state in January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 35-year-old man, who has not been identified, sought treatment at an urgent care center after returning from Wuhan, China, according to FOX 13 in Seattle.
He was treated at the Everett Providence Regional Medical Center in Washington and made a full recovery, officials said.
Texas Governor Abbott said in a press conference on Thursday, March 19 that he has been coordinating the state’s response to the coronavirus since the first confirmed case in the United States. Starting on January 24, the Texas Department of State Health Services began having daily calls with public health authorities, school districts, and county officials across the Lone Star State.
On February 15, it was reported that hundreds of Americans who were quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked off the coast of Yokohama, Japan, due to a coronavirus outbreak onboard would be evacuated to the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas for another two weeks of quarantine.
The first Texan who tested positive for COVID-19, that was not part of the Americans quarantined on a cruise ship, was on Wednesday, March 4. A week later, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster for Texas.
On Thursday, March 19, Abbott issued a public health disaster for the state of Texas. Abbott explained during a press conference that the executive orders brought the entire state of Texas in line with CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The public health disaster orders schools to be closed statewide until at least April 3. The disaster also orders a ban on dine-in eating and gathering in groups of more than 10 as the state ramps up efforts to battle the coronavirus.
Abbott's order also shuts down gyms and bars.
On March 24, Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference at the Texas Department of Public Safety warehouse facility. There, he announced that 715 Texans have tested positive for COVID-19.
Abbott also said at the press conference that 11 Texans have died and more than 65 counties have had positive cases.
More than 11,000 people have been tested, according to Abbott.
On March 26, Gov. Greg Abbott instituted a mandatory self-quarantine period for people visiting from several areas hard hit by the coronavirus in the United States.
Airline travelers from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Orleans into Texas will have to self-quarantine for 14 days. Abbott said there would be enforcement of the quarantine by Texas Department of Public Safety troopers.
On March 29, Governor Abbott expanded on previous travel-related executive orders and he issued a new order stopping the release of dangerous felons from prisons and jails in Texas.
For the travel executive orders, Gov. Abbott initially had issued one mandating a 14-day self-quarantine for people coming to Texas through an airport from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the city of New Orleans.
He expanded the mandatory self-quarantine to include those traveling by road from the entire state of Louisana. He also included travelers coming from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago and the states of California and Washington.
On March 31, Abbott issued an essential services order. The order would require anyone who is not considered an essential critical infrastructure worker to stay home.
The order will limit everyone who lives or works within the state of Texas to only leave home for essential activity, essential business, essential government functions and critical care functions.
Law enforcement across the state can enforce the order which is punishable by a fine or jail time, according to Governor Abbott.
Governor Abbott has also made a number of legislative changes in order to help fight the spread of coronavirus and to help Texans who are facing finical burdens as businesses across the state shut down.
- Gov. Abbott issues new executive orders, updates COVID-19 numbers
- Gov. Abbott releases two new orders to combat COVID-19
- Abbott declaration closes Texas schools until April 3
- Abbott postpones runoff election in response to COVID-19
- Gov. Abbott allowing event permit refunds for businesses affected by coronavirus
- Abbott waives regulations to support pharmacy operations amid COVID-19 outbreak
- U.S. SBA approves emergency designation for Texas businesses, loans available
- Abbott waives regulations to preserve, extend child care capacity for critical workers during COVID-19 response
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 12 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.
You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.