Starting this week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is deploying the National Guard to assist with the state’s COVID-19 response. The guard troops will help local officials set up medical tents, get previously closed hospitals and medical facilities up and running again and monitor drive-thru testing sites.
Executive orders issued by Abbott allow hospitals to treat two patients in each room, instead of just one, and force hospitals to cancel all non-essential procedures.
Citing the fact there are no COVID-19 cases outside of the state’s major metropolitan areas, Abbott is, for now, leaving it up to local authorities to decide on stay-at-home orders. He indicated that position is subject to change if Texas starts seeing more cases in rural areas. So far, Dallas County and Waco have ordered residents to shelter in place. There are growing indications there will soon be similar orders for Austin and Travis County residents.
As of Sunday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Texas was 566. Seven people have died. The numbers are expected to rise as testing ramps up around the state.