COVID-19 turned aggressive to the point last week that the Department of Defense activated U.S. Army and U.S. Navy medical task force teams and assigned them to Texas at Gov. Greg Abbott’s request.
Teams were deployed to support Houston and San Antonio hospitals and medical facilities in hard-hit Rio Grande Valley. The Texas Division of Emergency Management was on the job, too, working with local officials to line up additional hospital capacity in Cameron and Hidalgo counties and to identify other sites to house patients who are recovering from COVID-19.
Some $41 million in federal funds are being put toward assisting cities and counties in the COVID-19 response, Abbott said. Those funds will be used by local government for first responder overtime and hazard pay, equipment and supplies for teleworking technologies, social distancing and personal protective gear, county jail costs associated with medical needs of inmates and as reimbursement for holding inmates awaiting transfer to the state prison system.
Cumulative figures posted July 19 by the Texas Department of State Health Services showed some 325,030 people in Texas diagnosed with the deadly virus, and 3,958 confirmed deaths resulting from the disease.
TEA: Schools to open
Texas schools will open next month, but school systems will be allowed to limit access to on-campus instruction for the first four weeks of school, the Texas Education Agency announced July 17.
A school system may limit access to on-campus instruction for an additional four weeks with a board-approved waiver request to the TEA. Health and safety procedures will be in place to support student and teacher safety, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said.