Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference at the State Capitol where he provided new information on the state’s health care capacity and issued additional Executive Orders. The Governor announced that hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients have doubled over the past week. He also detailed the joint effort between the state, the Texas Military Department (TMD), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to identify and equip additional locations to serve as health care facilities in the event that hospital capacity is exhausted. The first of these sites will be the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.
The Governor was joined for the press conference by Major General Tracy Norris of the Texas Army National Guard, USACE Southwest Division Commander and Chief Engineer Brigadier General Paul Owen, Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, and Supply Chain Strike Force member and former State Representative John Zerwas, MD.
"While hospitals will remain the primary location to treat and care for those in need, we are ensuring that Texas is prepared for any possible scenario in which current hospital capacity is exhausted," said Governor Abbott. "This joint initiative with the Texas Military Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will expand the care capacity in communities across Texas."
During the press conference, the Governor issued two new Executive Orders to protect public safety and further combat the spread of COVID-19 in Texas. In the first Executive Order (GA-12) announced today, the Governor mandated a 14-day quarantine for road travelers arriving in Texas from any location in Louisiana. The self-quarantine procedure will mirror the process outlined in the Governor's previous Executive Order requiring mandatory self-quarantine for air travelers from the New York Tri-State Area and New Orleans, Louisiana. This mandated quarantine will not apply to travel related to commercial activity, military service, emergency response, health response, or critical infrastructure functions.
In the second Executive Order (GA-13) announced today, the Governor prohibited the release of individuals in custody for or with a history of offenses involving physical violence or the threat of physical violence. This Executive Order comes in response to concerns of the release or anticipated release of individuals because of COVID-19 who are deemed a danger to society.
The Governor also issued a proclamation regarding his prior Executive Order mandating a self-quarantine for individuals arriving from the New York Tri-State Area and New Orleans, Louisiana. The Executive Order now includes air travelers arriving from the following states and cities: