Abbott announces new travel restrictions to combat COVID-19

By  | 

AUSTIN, Tex. (KBTX)- Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Sunday announced orders restricting travel to Texas from certain COVID-19 hot spots including the state of Lousiana.

Abbott said road travel coming into Texas from Louisiana will be restricted to those handling essential services. Anyone else coming in will be required to self-quarantine for two weeks.

The self-quarantine procedure will mirror the process outlined in the Governor's previous Executive Order requiring mandatory self-quarantine for air travelers from the New York Tri-State Area and New Orleans, Louisiana.

This mandated quarantine will not apply to travel related to commercial activity, military service, emergency response, health response, or critical infrastructure functions.

He also said people flying into Texas from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, California, Louisiana, and Washington state must also be self-quarantined.

Those entering Texas from the designated areas will use a form from DPS to designate their quarantine location. DPS special agents will conduct unannounced visits to designated quarantine locations to verify compliance. Failure to comply with this order is considered a criminal offense that is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine, up to 180 days in jail, or both.

Click here to watch Sunday's news briefing.

The Governor commented on the current status of hospital readiness and said hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients have doubled over the past week. He said most medical facilities currently have the capacity to handle the number of patients seeking care but added that could change in the coming weeks.

He also detailed the joint effort between the state, the Texas Military Department, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to identify and equip additional locations to serve as health care facilities in the event that hospital capacity is exhausted. The first of these sites will be the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.

"While hospitals will remain the primary location to treat and care for those in need, we are ensuring that Texas is prepared for any possible scenario in which current hospital capacity is exhausted," said Governor Abbott. "This joint initiative with the Texas Military Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will expand the care capacity in communities across Texas."

Abbott has also signed an executive order which prohibits dangerous felons from being released early due to COVID-19 concerns.

“Releasing dangerous criminals makes the state even less safe,” Governor Abbott said. “It also complicates and slows our ability to respond to the disaster caused by COVID-19."

In Texas, more than 25,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 and 2.552 have tested positive. 176 are in the hospital and there have been 34 reported deaths.

Brazos County's second patient to pass away after getting the virus was confirmed on Sunday morning. The person was a woman in her 90s who was in a local hospital when she passed away.

There are a total of 44 positive cases in Brazos County. There are a total of 58 cases in the Brazos Valley area.