AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday afternoon, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hosted a briefing on precautionary steps the state is taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
The event was held at the State Operations Center in Austin.
Abbott said that Texas’ response plans are not being started from scratch, but rather being informed by historical knowledge gained from responses to other infectious disease emergencies, including H1N1 and Ebola.
The Governor said that he’d just gotten off the phone with Vice President Mike Pence, who was recently placed in charge of dealing with the outbreak in the U.S. and that state and local governments are collaborating with the federal governments to keep residents safe.
“Emergency management are planning to begin bi-weekly meetings right here with all relevant state agencies… these meetings will begin Tuesday. March 3, agencies will discuss current state emergency planning documents and how they will be implemented.”
Abbott said the planning will include preparing for different scenarios ranging from ordinary to full “extreme pandemic.”
He said that one step that’s already taken place is that the Texas Education Agency has coordinated with the Texas Department of State Health Services to send documents to school districts on how to promote good hygiene measures.
Abbott reiterated constant communication between state agencies and officials, saying that meticulous monitoring and tracking is happening.
“Texas state agencies are monitoring the situation and leading a coordinated and proactive effort to ensure the health and safety of all Texans,” said Governor Abbott. “While there have been no reported cases of coronavirus in Texas, our state agencies are taking these precautionary steps to safeguard our communities. The State of Texas will continue to collaborate with our federal and local partners and will provide our communities with the necessary resources to respond to any potential cases of the coronavirus.”
As of Feb. 27, the Centers for Disease Control says there are 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. The origin of this case is unknown at this time, but of the other 14, 12 are travel-related and two were spread person-to-person.
Altogether, the CDC says 445 people have been tested nationally.
As of Wednesday, the World Health Organization says there were 81,109 confirmed cases globally. Of these, the majority of cases are from China, where the disease originated, where there are 78,191 confirmed cases.
Abbott also implored residents to visit DSHS.Texas.gov/coronavirus to learn more about what’s being done.
“DSHS works directly with the CDC lab to identify persons who should be tested, and coordinates with the CDC when test results are reported back,” said Abbott.