Gov. Greg Abbott announces drive-thru COVID-19 testing at Walgreens, encourages social distancing

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a news conference March 18 at Arlington's Office of Emergency Management. Abbott announced that Walgreens will soon provide drive-thru COVID-19 testing Wednesday. 

Gov. Greg Abbott announced that Walgreens will soon provide drive-thru COVID-19 testing at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

The sites will use the 15 minute Abbott Laboratories testing equipment and ensure that testing results will get back faster to the individual, Abbott said.

Each of the Walgreens sites can potentially administer about 3,000 tests per day, he said.

Abbott said there have also been a record number of calls to the Texas Workforce Commission about unemployment.

The commission reported its highest number of calls on March 26, with about 1.7 million calls received in one day, he said. Usually, the commission receives about 120,000 calls in one day, Abbott said.

In a two-week span, the commission has taken in about 600,000 claims and will likely issue more claims in a five-week span going back into March than in all of 2019, he said.

The commission urges people whose unemployment claims were previously denied to re-apply in case they now qualify, as state and federal labor departments have expanded programs to help with COVID-19 job loss, Abbott said.

As of Wednesday morning, Abbott said there have been 96,258 Texans tested for COVID-19. Of those tested, over 9,000 individuals have tested positive for the virus.

In Dallas County, 63 additional cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 1,324 positive cases, including 29 Dallas County inmates and 20 deaths, said Dr. Philip Huang, Dallas County Health and Human Services director, at a Wednesday afternoon press briefing.

Huang also shared details on the deceased Dallas County individuals.

He said 35% of the deceased were younger than 65 years old and 65% were 65 or older. Also, 63% of the deceased had underlying health conditions, with 37% having diabetes.

In terms of race, Huang said 40% of the deceased were caucasian, 30% Hispanic, 25% African-American and 1% other.

Huang said that all the social distancing and staying at home people have been doing is working and helping flatten the curve.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the county reported a lower number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday and Wednesday, which is something positive.

Even though the reported cases were lower, Jenkins said people don’t need to slow down on flattening the curve.

“We’ve got to stay focused on this mission,” he said. “Staying focused on this mission is the best way to save as many lives as possible.”

Abbott expressed that social distancing and staying home will help slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Working together to make sure we continue these distancing practices for just a short time more, we will ensure that we do all we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus in Texas,” he said.

@bjgarcia27

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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