By Bethany Blankley
Texas received 2.5 million masks in the past 24 hours, Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday. The state will receive an additional 3 million masks by April 11, he said.
The governor provided a regional breakdown of supplies being delivered throughout the state, including personal protection equipment such as masks, face shields, gloves, gowns and coveralls.
“The Supply Chain Strike Force is working closely with the Texas Division of Emergency Management to exhaust all avenues for the purchasing and delivery of these critical supplies,” Abbott said. “We continue to make tremendous progress to distribute these resources throughout the state, and with more supplies on the way, we are strengthening our state’s ability to protect our health care workers and the patients they serve. I thank all of our health care workers and first responders as well as the supply chain workers who are working tirelessly to deliver this essential equipment to Texas.”
The governor’s office also announced that Care.com is increasing in-home childcare access for frontline workers responding to the COVID-19 emergency. As part of the initiative, Care.com is offering 90 days of free, premium access to their services, including specific portals for frontline workers and caregivers in Texas.
Frontline workers seeking childcare and prospective caregivers can enroll here.
Potential caregivers are subject to an extensive background and safety check. While childcare services are not typically free of charge, the Texas portal gives residents the ability to waive their fees and volunteer as caregivers, providing additional support to frontline workers.
"Care.com is honored to partner with Governor Abbott and the state to make this offer and access available to the frontline workers and caregivers across Texas," Tim Allen, CEO of Care.com, said in a prepared statement. "We are all dependent on the commitment of these essential workers as they look after our families and they deserve nothing less from each of us."
There have been 85,357 tests administered in the state at 5,611 public labs and at 79,746 private labs. The number of people infected with the virus currently in Texas hospitals Monday was 1,153. There have been 7,276 cases reported in Texas with 140 fatalities. Of the 524 counties in the state, 157 have reported cases, with Harris County reporting the most (1,395), followed by Dallas County (1,112) and Travis County (484).
Hospital bed availability in Texas has increased by slightly more than 140 percent since March 18, the governor’s office reports.
"Over the past several weeks we have taken action to expand bed availability to make sure that every Texan who needs a hospital bed will have access to one,” Abbott said in a prepared statement. “The best thing Texans can do to help maintain hospital capacity is to stay at home unless they are engaged in essential services or activities. Staying home saves lives and helps our healthcare workers during these challenging times. I thank all the doctors, nurses, medical workers as they fight on the front lines against COVID-19."
Hospital bed capacity expanded after several executive orders were issued near the end of March. In one, the governor directed all licensed health care professionals and facilities to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not medically necessary to save the life of a patient or correct an immediate condition. Another required Texas hospitals to submit daily reports of hospital bed capacity to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Another temporarily waived certain hospital licensing rules and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) adopted an emergency rule to meet Texas’ need for additional hospital capacity.
The state, Texas Military Department (TMD), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are also working together to identify and equip additional locations to serve as health care facilities in the event that hospitals reach their full capacity, among the first of which is the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.