AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – The volatile oil and gas markets, along with the job sector were tops on Governor Greg Abbott’s latest update on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The fact of the matter is we have a flood of supply and a dry-up of demand,” said Abbott. “Some of the strategies that the president has either done or is working on is, for one, working to try to forge some type of compromise between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Another strategy is the possibility of using these strategic reserves as a potential purchasing entity or in-flow for some of the excess supply.”READ MORE: Suspected Drunk Driver Charged In Crash That Killed 5-Year-Old Texas Boy
Abbott touched on what he called the “bigger picture” of the nation becoming more energy independent. He stressed the need for Texas to have the ability to maintain the robust energy oil and gas production infrastructure it currently has.
For the more than 1 million Texans who have lost their jobs, Abbott said 1,579,000 unemployment claims were filed in Texas, and $1.4 billion was paid out on those claims, meaning so far, 80% of all claims were paid.
As for the remaining 20%, they “will be addressed very quickly because of the increased staff, new strategies and longer hours that the Texas Work Force Commission is using to make sure that they are going to be able to very swiftly address all of the unemployment claims that people have filed.”
The governor had positive news to share about testing, saying “our testing strategy is effective in doing the primary thing that it must do, and that is to give the state and local communities a snapshot about the extent to which COVID-19 is expanding or contracting in the State of Texas. And because those who are testing positive remains about the same percentage as they have been all along, it shows there has been no meaningful outbreak.”
Abbott also said the Texas National Guard is mobilizing more than 1,200 personnel, as part of the COVID-19 mobile testing teams covering the state. There are 25 teams, which when fully deployed they will have the capability to collectively test about 3,500 patients per day.
Abbott said he wanted to make sure the word was getting out about the availability of testing. “As we have seen an increase in the number and locations of these drive- thru testing sites, I have received images of a lot of these testing sites being vacant or poorly attended,” said Abbott. He also said he wasn’t sure why that was the case but that more should be done to let the public know about testing. “We will be providing more information about some of these sites later on this week but I urge all public media outlets to be sure and share information about these drive-thru sites so that more people from these location will be utilizing these sites for the purpose of being tested for COVID-19.”
The number of people hospitalized each day in Texas since the pandemic began has remained roughly the same.READ MORE: FEMA Hotline Quickly Overwhelmed By Those Seeking COVID-19 Funeral Payment Assistance
“One thing that has set Texas apart from some of the other states… that we have not come close to needing to use all the hospital bed capacity that we have seen in some other states, maintaining a low level of the number people who are required to be hospitalized as a result of having COVID-19,” said Abbott.
Also of note from the governor, the number of new fatalities is on the decline in Texas.
“The total number as of earlier today was 511 people who have lost their lives. Far too many. These are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who have been lost,” said Abbott.
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