AUSTIN, Texas -- With more than 9,300 cases reported in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday announced plans to increase testing and face mask production in response to the growing coronavirus outbreak.
He said Texas will ramp up testing with the help of drive-thru sites at Walgreens drug stores in various locations across the state.
The list of participating store locations will be made available to the public at some point over the next few days, so it was not immediately known as to which El Paso stores might be involved in the effort.
Walgreens said in a statement that it would target "hot spot markets" based on where data shows virus diagnosis rates are rising quickly. While El Paso has seen a recent surge in cases, both the Dallas and Houston areas have far greater infection rates.
“Each site may be able to be built up to administer 3,000 tests per day,” Abbott said at a news conference at the state capitol, adding that Texas has seen a 10% increase in testing per day over the past week.
The testing increase in Texas comes as the state’s virus death toll increased to 177. There are now 9,353 known cases in the state.
The governor also announced a new state partnership with Prestige Ameritech, the nation's largest surgical mask manufacturer, to increase the production of face masks for health care workers.
Prestige Ameritech's 24-hour operation at their headquarters near Fort Worth will soon have additional staffing with members of the Texas National Guard, Abbott said. The move will allow production to increase to two million masks per week.