AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a warning to Texans Thursday, April 2 to stay home because he expects the increase in cases and deaths from COVID-19 to continue. Abbott spoke with CBS 11 News  Political Reporter Jack Fink to talk about the latest efforts in the fight against the Coronavirus in Texas.

Abbott said that last week there were 1,400 people in the state of Texas who tested positive for COVID-19 and that as of today more than 4,600 have tested positive.

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Abbott also said that a week ago, there were 18 deaths in Texas  and that today there are seventy.

“Those numbers are going to continue to increase, with the Dallas area in particular being one of the hottest spots in the state of Texas,” said Abbott.

Abbott said that “we feel very good where we are” when it comes to the availability of hospital beds in the state. With regard to the availability of Personal Protection Equipment [PPE] for first responders, Abbott said he is making sure there is PPE coming in that can be dispersed across the state.

“With regard to things like PPE, if I could quickly give you some information to show you what we’re doing. In just the last five days, Texas has provided an additional 1.3 million face masks, 1.5 million gloves, 165,000 face shields and 155,000 gowns.”

“So the good news is, the personal protection equipment that we need to provide to those on the front lines — our doctors, our nurses, the health care providers who are interacting with people who may have COVID-19 — that continues to come in,” said Abbott.

On Tuesday, the governor urged Texans to remain in their homes unless they need to leave for essential activities or services such as grocery shopping, medical assistance or going to jobs that are still open.

Abbott also said that there were some people not complying with the state’s request to socially distance and stay at home.

“I have seen sporadic — either photographs or videos — whether it be in the Dallas area, the Austin area or elsewhere in the state of Texas, where some people are not complying,” said Abbott. Anyone who does not comply with the orders to stay at home… they are risking their own lives… they’re increasing the possibility that they will contract COVID-19.  They could put themselves at risk of losing their lives. Also, it increases the possibility of transmission of COVID-19 in Texas.”

Abbott’s executive order put in place this week allows any law enforcement officer to enforce the stay at home orders, which could lead to fines or jail time for violators.

Abbot also said that he is working with President Trump to be sure the oil and gas industry in Texas remains viable. Abbott said that Saudi Arabia and Russia have been flooding the market with oil thus driving the price down.

“The President announced, he believes that we are on the precipice of having some type of deal workout between Russia and Saudi Arabia,” Abbott said. “This is the best possible solution for the oil and gas producers in the state of Texas.”

Interview Text: 

Jack Fink, CBS 11

Governor, thank you for your time. I see the state is now reporting nearly 700 additional positive cases of COVID-19. statewide. What are your latest projections for how many people in the state are going to get this, and when?

TX Gov. Greg Abbott

The numbers continue to increase. First, let me give you a comparison and then specifically answer your question and let you know that for your audience this is exactly why the state has enhanced our standard to make sure that people stay at home unless they’re involved in essential services.

The numbers are these. As of a week ago, there were 1,400 people in the state of Texas who tested positive for COVID-19. Today it’s now more than 4,600. A week ago, there were 18 deaths in Texas connected to COVID-19, today there are seventy. Those numbers are going to continue to increase [within] the Dallas area in particular being one of the hottest spots in the state of Texas.

On the projections understand this. The projections that I have are based upon data and doctors. We’re in constant contact with Dr. Deborah Birx, as well as Dr. [Anthony] Fauci – the two doctors that the public sees at the podium with the President – whenever they’re talking about prognostications about the Coronaovirus.

The predictions show for both the United States as well as for the state of Texas, that we may hit the top of all of this sometime in the middle to latter part of April. But we will continue to see an increase in both the number of deaths as well as those who test positive. The best way that we as a state can reduce those numbers is to follow these orders to make sure that you stay at home unless you’re involved in essential services.

Jack Fink, CBS 11

To that point, are Texans complying with your message?

TX Gov. Greg Abbott

You know, by and large, we’re very pleased to see what has happened over the past week or so with regard to people staying at home. I have seen sporadic either photographs or videos whether it be in the Dallas area, the Austin area or elsewhere in the state of Texas, where some people are not complying. Anyone who does not comply with the orders to stay at home… they are risking their own lives… they’re increasing the possibility that they will contract COVID-19.  They could put themselves at risk of losing their lives. Also, it increases the possibility of transmission of COVID-19 in Texas.

This is not going to be a lifetime situation where you have to stay at home. This is the time however, when all Texans need to come together and work together to distance themselves from others. We know that you have certain needs like going to the grocery store and certain things like that. We know you may have Cabin Fever that makes you want to go take a walk. These things are allowed. If You practice distancing practices to make sure that you remain at least six feet away from somebody else so you will not be contracting COVID-19.

Jack Fink, CBS 11

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Does the state have enough hospital beds? And how is your task force doing on getting the necessary PPE equipment, ventilators and masks?

TX Gov. Greg Abbott

So for hospital beds, we’ve been conducting studies and we feel very good where we are. If you look at the modeling that has been conducted by some of these entities, we were in good shape before I issued my executive order that required the elimination of non-essential surgery and the requirement to double up beds were possible.

If you look at the national base studies that people like Dr. Deborah Birx rely upon, it shows in the state of Texas – even in the worst-case scenario – Texas should have an adequate number of hospital beds.

With regard to things like PPE, if I could quickly give you some information to show you what we’re doing. In just the last five days, Texas has provided an additional 1.3 million face masks, 1.5 million gloves, 165,000 face shields and 155,000 gowns.

So the good news is, the personal protection equipment that we need to provide to those on the front lines our doctors, our nurses, the health care providers who are interacting with people who may have COVID-19 that continues to come in. And this is a sampling of the past. What we are working on on a daily basis is to make sure we have additional personal protection equipment coming in that we can disperse across the entire state.

Jack Fink, CBS 11

What about first responders getting that equipment?

TX Gov. Greg Abbott

[It is essential for] first responders have the equipment and they are included [as] the recipients of these personal protection equipment supplies because, as you know, first responders may be the first [people] who would be confronting someone who have COVID-19. So, they’re absolutely covered.

Jack Fink, CBS 11

Governor, I wanted to ask you about the economy today. What do you say to Texans are still having difficulty asking for that assistance and filing their claims?

TX Gov. Greg Abbott

It’s very, very important. There are so many Texans who are applying for unemployment benefits. Know this. I know that their ability to get in and communicate with the Texas Workforce Commission has been compromised because there are so many people who are applying for unemployment benefits. More than ever before in history.

So what we did, we went out and hired hundreds of more people who can help process these claims and then brought in additional people from other agencies to expedite the processing of these claims.

Understand these very important facts. And that is, just because you may not have been able to get into the Texas Workforce Commission yet to make your claim for unemployment benefits, it does not mean you will be denied, you are going to be able to get your unemployment benefits.

But maybe equally, if not more important, is when you factor in the money that has been allocated by the United States government for the expansion of the amount of unemployment benefits that will be available to you, you will be getting more in unemployment benefits than you otherwise would have received.

Jack Fink, CBS 11

I wanted to ask you about the oil and gas industry. Former Energy Secretary and Governor Rick Perry did an interview the other day and said it’s on the verge of collapse. Have you had conversations with President Trump about what to do to protect the Texas oil and gas industry?

TX Gov. Greg Abbott

I have had the opportunity to visit with multiple members of the administration about this issue over the past couple of weeks. What I’ve learned is what is playing out today. For your viewers who may not know, the President announced, he believes that we are on the precipice of having some type of deal workout between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Because they were at odds, they drove down the price of oil by flooding the markets with additional barrels of oil. The President has been working on trying to negotiate a deal with Russia and Saudi Arabia; for them to stop fighting and for them to reduce the amount of production and supply in the markets. That’s one reason why as we’re are talking today the price of oil is up. This is the best possible solution for the oil and gas producers in the state of Texas; the increased price that may help more of them, stay afloat.

TX Gov. Greg Abbott

Governor Abbott, thank you so much for your time today.

Jack Fink, CBS 11

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Thank you, Jack.