EDITORS NOTE: Atascosa County at 1:40 p.m. gave an update that one of the five COVID-19 patients has recovered and is doing fine.
Gov. Greg Abbott in a press conference today at noon announced that Walgreens in Texas will soon be able to provide drive-thru testing for COVID-19. The pharmacies will utilize the Abbott Labs 15-minute response test kits and will potentially be able to perform about 3,000 tests per day. The specific Walgreen’s locations have not been announced.
Gov. Abbott said that while testing will become more readily available to not look to that as a solution. He said if you test negative it is only good for that moment. What you do after the negative test is the key. “Testing is not a solution,” said Gov. Abbott. “The solution is to follow the state orders so that you reduce your chances of contracting COVID-19,” said Abbott. “If you do not have COVID-19 right now, you have total control to maintain your personal protection to ensure that you do not get it.”
Abbott said at some point this week, Texas will pass the 100,000 mark of people tested for the coronavirus. He said 9,107 Texans have tested positive, 1,491 are hospitalized and 175 have died. Abbott said that if not for social distancing those numbers would be much higher. He thanked Texans for following the orders to minimize contact with people outside their household.
Gov. Abbott addressed the increase in unemployment in Texas due to COVID-19. Abbott said that the Texas Workforce Commission reported a record-setting number of calls to its benefits claims line on March 26, with about 1.7 million calls received in one day. The average number of calls in a day for TWC is 120,000.
The Governor’s office announced additional moves on Tuesday, including temporary closure of state parks.
The Governor was joined by a Dr. John Hellerstedt, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services; Chief Nim Kidd, who heads the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and Dr. John Zerwas, the lawmaker-turned University of Texas administrator who is a member of Abbott’s supply chain strike force.