Speaker Bonnen issues statement following Governor Abbott’s declaration of disaster
AUSTIN, Texas – Following Governor Greg Abbott’s declaration of disaster and recent developments related to the outbreak of COVID-19 virus, Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen today issued an update on measures the state is taking to thwart the spread of novel coronavirus in Texas.
“The State of Texas has identified a course of action to mitigate and respond to the spread of COVID-19 in our state and is taking swift action to implement these measures as we speak,” said Speaker Dennis Bonnen. “I support Governor Abbott’s decision to declare a state of disaster for all counties in Texas and appreciate his extraordinary leadership and transparency throughout this situation. As a result of his announcement, the state and its agencies will have greater flexibility and resources to contain this outbreak and protect the most vulnerable among us.”
Per Governor Abbott's announcement, the declaration will facilitate and expedite the use and deployment of all resources necessary to enhance preparedness and response by:
· Activating the state emergency management plan and the State Operations Center to enhance the state’s planning and response capabilities.
· Increasing the availability and capacity of testing statewide.
· Giving TDEM the ability to reassign and fully utilize appropriate personnel where they are needed most.
· Providing the immediate ability to move resources around the state, including resources obtained through the Strategic National Stockpile.
· Empowering the Office of the Texas Attorney General (OAG) to pursue cases of price-gouging and ensure that offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
· Restricting visitations at facilities including nursing homes, state-supported living centers, hospitals, daycare facilities, prisons, jails, and juvenile justice facilities, with exceptions for situations like end-of-life visitations after proper screening takes place.
· Directing state agencies to take any action necessary to facilitate telemedicine and flexible work policies.
Speaker Bonnen remains in constant communication with Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Patrick, members of the Texas House of Representatives, and other local, state, and federal authorities to receive updates on the state’s containment and response efforts.
Governor Abbott’s declaration follows the Speaker’s memorandum to members of the Texas House of Representatives and House personnel this morning, which detailed measures the Speaker’s Office has taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in and around our State Capitol.
In the interest of public health, we encourage all Texans to take similar additional measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to those around them, including:
· Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
· Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
· Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others who are sick.
· Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue in the trash.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces thoroughly using household cleaning sprays or wipes.
· Avoid nonessential large public gatherings, if possible.
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