I want to start this column by offering my thoughts and prayers to our fellow East Texans who were affected by the recent tornado in Polk County, namely Onalaska. Though the damage and devastation may have rattled this community, no amount of destruction can bury the resiliency and grit of the East Texas spirit. And while we offer our thoughts and prayers, let us also remember that we can offer assistance by donating clothing, food, and our time to help our neighbors as they begin the rebuilding process. The Polk County Emergency Management, Texas Facebook page is providing great information about help that is needed.
With that, here’s the latest information on our state’s fight against the coronavirus. . .
Since my last column, Governor Abbott has made clear his intent to begin reopening businesses in Texas as soon as possible. In his most recent address, Abbott announced that while schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, Texas will begin taking steps to reopen the economy as early as this week. The Governor has already issued executive orders loosening restrictions on certain surgeries, and authorizing the continuation of select activities and services that pose minimal to no threat of spreading the virus, such as the “Retail-To-Go” model, which allows retailers to reopen provided that they deliver items to customer’s cars, homes, or other locations to minimize contact. While these are some of the first steps that have been taken towards our ultimate goal of getting Texas back to work, they will not be the last. The Governor recently created the “Strike Force to Open Texas”—a team of nationally recognized medical experts and private and public leaders—who will advise the Governor on safely and strategically reopening the State of Texas.
It’s important to know that the steps we are taking towards reopening the Texas economy are a direct result of the preventative measures we’ve endured to stop the spread of COVID-19. Because of our efforts to slow the spread, we’re beginning to see the number of infections level off statewide. The percentage rate of those recovering is higher than those testing positive, the growth rate is lower now than it was at the beginning of the outbreak at five percent, our caseload doubling time continues to decline, and the death toll, while tragic, has not come close to the early, dire predictions. While it’s no surprise that Texas is leading the way in our fight against this pandemic, our early success is not without sacrifice. Rest assured that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and if we continue to demonstrate our commitment to public health, and to each other, we will undoubtedly overcome this challenge.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our District office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.