AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – Mitigation efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Texas are working, according to Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Debbie Birx.
She told Governor Greg Abbott the positive news after analyzing data compiled during the last few days, and he shared it with reporters.
“She said that we are getting close to beginning to bend the curve, but also she made clear that if we let up now, all of our efforts that have led us to this point will have been for nothing,” said Gov. Abbott during a Monday afternoon press conference.
Abbott also touched on what he called “interesting events that are taking place in the State of Texas with regard to the use of hydroxychloroquine,” a drug typically used to treat malaria.
Recently, President Trump has pushed for the use of an anti-malarial drug against the coronavirus, despite any medical evidence of its effectiveness.
But, according to Abbott, 30 patients at a Texas nursing home who tested positive for COVID-19, are undergoing testing treatment with hydroxychloryquine.
“They are in their second day of this testing regimen that lasts several more days,” said Abbott, “And we’ll let you know how this drug is aiding or not these patients at the The Resort at Texas City.”
The governor also has positive news for Texans struggling financially due to the pandemic.
“Treasure Secretary Mnuchin he said that states should begin receiving funds from the federal government around April 24th, that’ll help respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19,” said Abbott.
Texans will start receiving direct deposits next week.
Mnuchin said the government is working to get money to the states for the increase in amount of unemployment benefits and he talked about the economic recovery program. The program will provide $2 million of loans to small businesses in Texas, as well as the paycheck protection program that helps businesses maintain payroll and loans of up to $10 million.
Gov. Abbott also talked about travel restrictions during the pandemic.
“We maintain the travel restrictions about people being able to fly into Texas from what are considered COVID-19 hot spot zones: New Orleans, Miami, Atlanta and the Tri-State Area around New York, as well as Detroit and Chicago,” he said. “In addition to that, we announced last week that the Texas Department of Public Safety was going to begin to pull over vehicles that have crossed the border from Louisiana into Texas and to provide them information where anybody coming from Louisiana who is not exempted must self-quarantine for 14 days.”
There are currently 5,492 confirmed coronavirus cases in Texas.