Gov. Abbott activates Texas National Guard to respond to coronavirus pandemic

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Out of an abundance of precaution, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday he is activating the Texas National Guard to help the state’s response to the new coronavirus in Texas.

“This preparative measure will ensure that the Texas National Guard can assist in various forms throughout the state when needed,” Abbott said. “Healthcare workers and first responders who are members of the Texas National Guard are excluded from this activation so that they can continue serving the people of Texas in their respective fields.”

Abbott said there’s not a need for the federal government to deploy the National Guard “at this time.”

According to the most recent numbers provided by public and federal health labs on Tuesday, Texas has tested 1,264 people so far. Officials said there are more private labs conducting tests as well, but there is no precise number on how many or when.

Abbott said Texas should be able to conduct up to 10,000 tests by the end of the week.

It’s unclear exactly what their responsibilities would entail, but the Texas National Guard was last activated in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey decimated the state.

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