Gov. Abbott extends disaster declaration for COVID-19 in Texas

The extension will allow resources to continue to assist the state to help mitigate the spread of the virus

Governor Greg Abbott. (Illustration by Henry Keller) (Henry Keller, KSAT)

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott has extended the disaster declaration in effect for all Texas counties as the coronavirus continues to spread across the state and the nation.

The proclamation was announced Sunday and will, in part, provide the groundwork for Abbott to continue to waive state regulations and laws in an effort to effectively respond to the outbreak.

However, Gov. Abbott has not announced the date as to when the disaster declaration will be extended to, as of yet.

“By extending my Disaster Declaration, we are ensuring the state of Texas continues to have adequate resources and capabilities to support our communities and protect public health,” said Abbott in a statement. “I urge all Texans to continue practicing social distancing and abide by the guidelines laid out by the CDC and my Executive Orders to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The declaration was originally issued on March 13. Abbott is expected to hold the next statewide briefing on Monday.

As of Sunday, the death toll in Texas from COVID-19 has passed 270 as nearly 1,000 more patients have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a previous report.

Texas coronavirus death toll passes 270

A total of 13,500 residents have tested positive for the virus and 271 have died so far. Harris County has more than 3,500 positive COVID-19 cases and Dallas County has over 1,600 cases, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

In Bexar County, as of Saturday there were 723 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 27 deaths.

City officials also reported 156 cases are travel related, 263 cases are close contact, 232 are community transmission and 72 cases are under investigation. A total of 119 patients have fully recovered from the virus in San Antonio and 84 are hospitalized with 53 in intensive care and 46 patients on ventilators.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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About the Author:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.