AUSTIN, Texas -- As the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations continues to climb, the Texas Department of Emergency Management said it's prepared with plenty of personal protective equipment - or PPE - for hospitals across the state.
Chief Nim Kidd told ABC-7 in an interview on Wednesday that the state has about 24 million masks in inventory, with another 96 million in route.
Here's a transcript of that conversation...
ABC-7: Initially the supply chain for personal protective equipment was short --how has that changed over time in Texas, and how is the state making sure hospitals have enough PPE in the weeks ahead?
Kidd: Gov. Abbott's strike force to increase production was the life-saver in this event. They were able to procure 180 million different masks and several assortments of PPE. So far, we have bought and distributed over 70 million masks into the health care sector, EMS, hospitals, some of the nursing homes, private practice doctors and dentists. Our numbers, as you said, were 24 million. Today, we're up to 47 million in inventory and in our warehouse, with additional masks coming in. And our goal will be to make sure there are enough masks and ppe to make it through any spikes that we're on top of that, we're going to continue to add testing across the state."
ABC-7: Do you anticipate having to talk with the governor about mandating masks because we understand that the governor says businesses can mandate it, but do you also think it should be an individual mandate?
Kidd: So we talk with the governor everyday and there are many options he's considering. We believe 60 percent of the state is under mask orders for anyone in public. This isn't a one-size-fits-all state. We will to continue to work with local partners and local business communities to, again, reinforce the safe practices that we know work and put those enforcement efforts in place where they need to be.
ABC-7: There have been reports of a lag of testing results at mobile testing sites across the state. What is the state doing to address this issue?
Kidd: One of the biggest things we've done is increase the laboratories that we send our specimens to. And one of the things that we have very little influence in is when you go to your private practice doctor or go to one of the private clinics, how long it takes to get those results back. But from our military testing teams that are in the area, I believe there are seven in the El Paso area today, we're turning around those lab results in about 3 days."