AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Governor Greg Abbott, during a press conference moments ago, expanded upon his mandatory 14-day quarantine on air travelers arriving to Texas from certain COVID-19 hotbeds to include additional areas.
Additionally, Abbott ordered the same for all road and air travelers from Louisiana, calling for the deployment of roadside checkpoints on or near Texas-Louisiana border crossings.
In addition to air travelers arriving from New Orleans, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, Abbott says his previous executive order requiring a mandatory 14-day quarantine for air travelers arriving from these areas has expanded to include air travelers arriving from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, and the entire states of California, Washington, and Louisiana.
The order will also include any travel by road from any location within Louisiana. The road-based order does not apply to commercial, military, emergency response, healthcare response, or critical infrastructure functions.
Abbott says the measures are being taken in an effort to reduce the importation of COVID-19 into the state of Texas.
As with the previous order, those arriving from these areas by these means will be required to fill out a travel form, identifying your quarantine location, which will then be administered and enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Non-compliance with the order is a criminal offense punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail.
During the press conference, Abbott said the Texas Department of State Health Services is reporting, as of March 29, 2020, 2,552 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 118 of Texas' 254 counties, 25,483 tests have been administered, and there have been 34 COVID-19-related deaths. Abbott says there are also 176 confirmed COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized.
The state has also identified more than 16,000 available hospital beds for COVID-19 patients and named the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, as a Alternative Care Site for COVID-19 patients. The center will initially have capacity for 250 COVID-19 patients with the ability to expand to 1,400 beds.
State officials are working to identify additional Alternative Care Sites throughout the state, specifically, but not limited to, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, and the Rio Grande Valley.
Abbott says hospitals will continue to remain the primary location for care.