SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday visited a Texas Division of Emergency Management warehouse in San Antonio to receive an update on the state's supply of personal protective equipment.
He was joined by Nim Kidd, the chief of the state's emergency management division, and Abbott gave brief remarks.
Abbott said that the opening of schools and the upcoming flu season will increase the need for PPE in the near future.
"We have abundant supplies that we will be able to continue to provide PPE to schools, to hospitals, to nursing homes, to testing sites, to any operation within the state of Texas that's going to need PPE in response to the pandemic," said Abbott.
He indicated that TDEM has distributed 59 million masks, 24,000 thermometers, and 500,000 face shields to Texas schools at no cost to the local districts.
"We have ordered just over $1 billion worth of PPE," added Nim Kidd, the chief of the state's emergency management division. He said that if there's leftover equipment, it will be used as a stockpile for future events.
The event came as Texas health officials reported almost 9,200 confirmed new vius cases Tuesday as a convention center in the hard-hit Rio Grande Valley opened as a makeshift hospital for Covid-19 patients.
The Department of State Health Services also reported 245 confirmed new deaths from the virus that has taken a particularly grim toll along the Texas border. Abbott said the McAllen Convention Center will be able to treat as many 250 patients to ease the strain on local hospitals.
The total number of cases reported since the outbreak began in March has topped 451,000, with the death toll approaching 7,300, state officials said.
Almost 138,000 cases remain active, with almost 8,700 cases requiring hospitalization, down from just over 8,800 on Monday. The testing positivity rate has climbed to 13.88% — well over the 10% red flag that Abbott has identified.
The true number of cases in Texas is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.