President Donald Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for Texas on Wednesday as reported cases in the state approached 1,000.
The declaration orders federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by the coronavirus outbreak, according to a White House statement.
This comes after Gov. Greg Abbott requested the declaration in a letter addressed to Trump on Monday. Abbott said in the letter that COVID-19 expenses have already exceeded $50 million, and those expenses would only continue to increase.
The requested federal aid would help with the shortage of personal protective equipment, medical equipment and testing supplies along with hospital bed shortages, Abbott stated in the letter.
Trump’s approval of the declaration makes federal funding available for crisis counseling for affected individuals, according to the White House statement. Funding is also available for state and eligible local governments and certain nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures.
“The President’s declaration opens up new sources of funding for individual and public assistance that will help Texas respond to this public health emergency and protect public health and safety,” Abbott said in a statement.
There have been 1,147 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Texas and 14 deaths, according to the data retrieved Wednesday at 4:16 p.m. from Johns Hopkins University. The Texas Department of State Health Services has reported over 970 COVID-19 cases and over 10 deaths, but its numbers are only current as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Tarrant County Updates
On Wednesday, Tarrant County reported 90 cases, more than a 25% increase since Tuesday. There has been one death and three recoveries so far.
There have been 16 cases reported in Arlington, a two-case increase from Tuesday. Tarrant County’s only death was a resident of the Texas Masonic Retirement Center in Arlington.
Dallas County Updates
Dallas County reported 78 additional positive cases as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, bringing the total case count in Dallas County to 247. This is the largest spike of cases in a single day that the county has reported so far.
“Today’s steep increase in cases is an urgent reminder that Governor Abbott should heed the pleas of doctors, nurses, and hospitals. We can’t wait any longer,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “I once again ask all North Texas counties to immediately move to the Dallas ‘Stay Home Stay Safe’ model as some did yesterday. That’s our best chance to #Flattenthecurve.”
Dallas County also reported its sixth death from COVID-19, an 80-year-old Garland resident. Dallas County deaths account for almost half of the deaths in the state.
Jenkins said at a Wednesday evening press conference, that five Dallas County inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. He said other inmates are being tested as well for the virus.
He said visitation is still not permitted in jails, but video visitation is now free to help people see their loved ones.
Abbott announced four executive orders and declared a public health disaster in Texas on March 19 in response to the coronavirus, but stopped short of ordering a statewide shelter-in-place.
“Cases of COVID-19 are increasing in places like Dallas, in Houston, in Austin,” Abbott said during a press conference Sunday. “What may be right for places like the large urban areas may not be right at this particular point in time for the more than 200 counties that have zero cases of COVID-19.”
News reporter Brayden Garcia contributed to this article.