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Coronavirus in Texas: Gov. Abbott announces hospital capacity, new testing capabilities

Gov. Abbott was joined by state health officials.

AUSTIN, Texas —

Gov. Greg Abbott gave an update on Texas' response to COVID-19 on Friday, April 3, at the State Capitol. 

Gov. Abbott was joined by the Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd and Dr. John Zerwas.

During the press conference, Gov. Abbott provided some updated numbers surrounding COVID-19.

Gov. Abbott said more than 55,000 Texans have been tested for COVID-19 and 5,478 of those Texans, approximately 10%, have tested positive. Additionally, Abbott said there have been 91 confirmed deaths related to COVID-19 in the state and 827 people are hospitalized, approximately 15% of those who have tested positive.

The amount of COVID-19 testing is increasing by approximately 10% each day, according to Gov. Abbott.

Regarding hospital capacity, Gov. Abbott said there are currently 19,625 beds available for COVID-19 if they are needed. He said this in a 15% increase in the number of beds.

Additionally, Gov. Abbott said 2,107 intensive care unit beds are available.

Dr. Natasha Kathuria at the Austin Emergency Center in Mueller said we need to continue preparing for a potential surge of patients.

"We are still well ahead of this surge in Austin," said Dr. Kathuria. "We need those numbers to be high. We need to have availability now because there’s no telling those beds will be taken up in a heartbeat as soon as the surge hits.”

The number of available ventilators in Texas was finally announced. Gov. Abbott said the state of Texas has 8,741 ventilators available for COVID-19.


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In Austin, Dr. Zerwas said there are 1,359 hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients, and 153 ICU beds.

“We need to maximize our potential for bed space, ICU bed space and ventilators because if those patients end up there that’s when they could turn sour and we could lose patients,” said Dr. Kathuria. 

Regarding personal protective equipment, Gov. Abbott said Texas' coronavirus strikeforce has provided more than 1.4 million facemasks, 190,000 face shields, 2 million gloves and 160,000 gowns in just the past six days.

Gov. Abbott announced the development of a new test that is able to provide an immediate result in approximately 15 minutes. Gov. Abbott said 10,000 tests have already been shipped to Texas and 20,000 tests are expected to be made available for the state each week.

These immediate tests will be prioritized to doctors and nurses who are at a high risk of contracting the virus, according to Gov. Abbott.

Kidd said the Texas Division of Emergency Management will be working with local partners to help provide additional personal protective equipment to providers who need it.

Gov. Abbott previously issued an executive order to postpone elective nonessential medical surgery and waived some licensing regulations to allow some recently closed hospitals to come back online.

WATCH: Coronavirus in Texas: Gov. Abbott gives update on state's COVID-19 response


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