AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has extended the state’s disaster declaration in response to the coronavirus pandemic as the state approaches nearly 13,500 deaths.
When Abbott first issued his emergency order on March 13, state officials hadn’t yet reported any confirmed deaths. Abbott has renewed his order every 30 days since and did again Monday.
Although hospitalizations for COVID-19 have steady declined since a peak in mid-July, Abbott said Texans should remain vigilant in helping to prevent virus spread.
“I urge Texans to take precautionary steps to protect their health by wearing a mask, social distancing, and sanitizing their hands,” Abbott said. “Working together, we will slow the spread and keep our communities safe.”
Texas health officials on Monday reported the state has had more than 640,000 virus infections with about 3,500 currently hospitalized.
The true number of cases in Texas is likely higher because many people haven’t been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and be fatal.