AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) — Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Sunday that the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas will be opened as a temporary healthcare facility for coronavirus patients.
During his news conference, Gov. Abbott said statewide, 176 people who tested positive for COVID-19 are requiring treatment in hospitals and have been admitted.
He also said the number of people being treated in the hospital for the virus is less than 2% of available beds in Texas.
The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will have room for 250 beds and plenty more if necessary. Abbott said he’ll look at similar places in Houston, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said he is grateful for the state’s assistance in fighting the virus.
“The availability of hospital beds will be crucial to saving lives in the event of a surge in COVID-19 cases,” Mayor Johnson said. “We will continue to work with Governor Abbott to ensure Dallas has the necessary resources to help us through these difficult times.”
The governor also issued a new executive order that mandates a 14-day quarantine for travelers flying to Texas from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, or the states of Washington or California.
An order earlier this week did the same for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. State troopers will be at Texas entry points to enforce.
Another executive order issued by Gov. Abbott is to stop the release of “dangerous felons from jails in Texas” because of COVID-19.
Just before the conference, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said his office filed an intervention to prevent the release of more than 4,000 dangerous individuals in Harris County.
“Protecting Texans is one of my highest priorities. It is vital that we maintain the integrity of our criminal justice system and continue to enforce state law during this pandemic,” Paxton said. “The release of thousands of arrestees justly held for felony crimes would directly endanger the public, and my office will not stand for any action that threatens the health and safety of law-abiding citizens.”
Regarding whether Texas schools can reopen this school year, Abbott said he will be meeting with TEA Commissioner Mike Morath this week to discuss his assessment along with Commissioner of DSHS John Hellerstedt.