TEXAS (KLTV) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed an executive order for travelers who fly to Texas from three states and New Orleans.
The restrictions are for travelers from the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Orleans. Abbott said anyone coming from those states and New Orleans must do a 14-day self-quarantine in Texas or for the length of their visit, whichever is shorter.
During his press conference, Abbott said he decided on issuing his latest executive order after he consulted with doctors on President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 team and learned that they consider the Tri-State area that includes New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to be a center for the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. The governor also cited the recent spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Louisiana, especially those in New Orleans.
Abbott said this mandatory self-quarantine rule will be enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Travelers who fly into Texas airports will be given documents that they have to fill out that state their designated quarantine location. They will also be asked to provide specific identifying information.
The governor said DPS troopers will visit travelers’ designated quarantine locations to check to see if they are complying with the governor’s executive order. Travelers from the above-listed states will not be allowed to have any visitors other than doctors or public health care personnel while they are under quarantine. They are also banned from any public spaces.
Abbott said if anyone violates this executive order, it will be considered a criminal offense, and they could face a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail.
During the question-and-answer session at the end of the press conference, Abbott responded a question about the high number of COVID-19 cases in California and Washington state and said those states weren’t mentioned in the discussions with the president’s coronavirus team. However, because of the wording of the executive order, Abbott will be able to add more states like California and Washington if needed.
Abbott also clarified that the executive order only applies to people who flew from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Orleans. It doesn’t apply to those who drove to Texas from those states.
When the press conference started, Abbott said that Texans can expect to see the numbers climb even further as more and more people are tested for the COVID-19 virus. He added that he and Texas health officials hope to see those numbers start leveling off soon.
Abbott said as of last Friday, there were 97 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Texas. Since then that number has climbed to 1,424, and that number includes 100 people who are currently hospitalized, he said. Last Friday, there were five deaths as a result of coronavirus infections, and now that number is at 18. The governor also said there are now confirmed COVID-19 cases in 90 Texas counties.
Abbott said that he is proud of the way Texans have rallied together during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. He said people, organizations, and businesses are donating supplies and money to help in the fight against the coronavirus. He added that doctors and nurses who are retired or from out of state have offered to help out in Texas.
“I know this is so hard for many of us personally, medically, and financially, but we are getting closer and closer to putting this behind us,” Abbott said.
Nim Kidd, the chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, said Abbott’s strike force is working 24 hours a day and seven days a week to make sure that the needed supplies are making their way to the Lone Star State.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has updated its numbers relating to COVID-19 cases and deaths.
As of noon Thursday, the department is reporting 18 COVID-19 related deaths in the state of Texas and 1,396 confirmed cases.
The department is reporting a total of 21,424 people have been tested for COVID-19. Ninety-two of the state’s 254 counties are reporting cases.
To check the latest state COVID-19 numbers, click here.