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140 coronavirus deaths in Texas, Hydroxychloroquine being used on nursing home residents

Texas Governor Greg Abbott provides an update on the coronavirus outbreak and the state's handling of the potential spread of the disease on Feb. 27, 2020. Photo: Office of the Governor of Texas

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – The COVID-related death toll in Texas has climbed to 140, and there are more than 1,100 patients hospitalized with the virus.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday  that 85,000 people in Texas have been tested, and  less than 10 percent of those have been diagnosed with coronavirus, and he’s urging Texans to continue to stay at home and abide by social distancing guidelines to lessen the anticipated rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Lone Star State.

Abbott said he had a conference call earlier in the day with Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force. He said Dr. Birx told the governors that mitigation efforts are working  and “we are getting close to beginning to bend the curve, but also she made clear that if we let up now all of our efforts that have led to this point will have been for nothing.”

The Governor  says a nursing home in Galveston County where more than 80 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 is testing some patients with hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat Malaria.

“About 30 patients are being tested with the hydroxychloroquine to determine whether or not it will be a successful treatment for those patients,” said Abbott. “They are, for the most part, in their second day of this testing regiment that will last several more days.”

The drug has been successful for treating Malaria, but it’s still in the testing stage in the fight against coronavirus.  The Galveston County Health District announced last Friday that , 83 residents and employees at The Resort at  Texas City had contracted the virus.

The governor  touched on travel restrictions and the Department of Public Safety border checks that started Sunday at the Texas/Louisiana border.  Travelers driving into the state from Louisiana are being stopped and told to fill out a form.   They’re ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days, and if they don’t, they could be subject to a $1,000 fine and/or jail time.

Abbott says in the past 24 hours,  the state has received 1.6 million masks and  nearly 210,o0o  face shields,  and three million more masks are on the way.

 


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