Governor Abbott COVID-19 Response Update

Governor Abbott
PHOTO: Office Of The Governor, 3/16/20

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference at the San Antonio Emergency Operations Center to update the public on the state’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), as well as efforts to expand testing capabilities throughout the state. The Governor thanked San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the city of San Antonio for their leadership in establishing one of the state’s first drive-through testing sites. It is currently providing testing to health care professionals and first responders in San Antonio before being expanded to the testing of individuals who have obtained a doctor’s order for COVID-19 testing.

The Governor reminded Texans that COVID-19 testing is also currently available through local health authorities and private providers, and added that the State of Texas is working with federal and local officials to replicate this model for drive-through testing sites in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth.

The Governor was joined by Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath and members of the Texas Legislature for the press conference.

“I thank Mayor Nirenberg and the city of San Antonio for leading the way to establish the state’s first drive-through testing site,” said Governor Abbott. “One of our top priorities in response to COVID-19 is to expand testing capabilities throughout the state. I appreciate our local partners for their leadership, as well as their swift action to protect the health and safety of their communities. In addition to expanding testing capabilities, the State of Texas continues to take actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and ensure Texans have the resources and supplies they need. I urge all Texans to heed the guidance of state, federal, and local agencies, and to continue taking precautionary steps to protect their health and the health of those around them.”

The San Antonio Fire Department has provided a video that includes additional information, as well as the proper procedure when using drive through testing sites. The video can be viewed at the following link:

Governor Abbott also highlighted the number of actions taken by the State of Texas since his Disaster Declaration to mitigate the spread of the virus, which include:

  • Fast-tracking temporary licensing for out-of-state physicians, physician assistants, retired physicians and nurses to assist with in-person and telemedicine services
  • Distributing an allotment of supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile, which includes surgical masks, respirators, face shields, etc., throughout the state
  • Waiving certain trucking regulations to streamline the flow of goods and supplies to grocery and retail stores throughout Texas
  • Waiving laws that prohibit trucks from the alcohol industry from delivering supplies to grocery stores
  • Waiving regulations to ensure students enrolled in work-study programs will continue to receive critical funding while campuses close due to their response to COVID-19
    Waiving STAAR testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year