Wolfabilene Updates Archives for 2020-04

Taylor County extends COVID-19 disaster declaration

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Taylor County Commissioners’ Court has extended the continuation of the Disaster Declaration due to COVID-19.

 

The Disaster Declaration set to expire on April 30 has been extended for 30 more days. The Taylor County Commissioners’ Court also passed a resolution to continue limited public access during a regular session held this morning.

 

According to County Judge Downing A. Bolls, Jr, the court will meet in a special called meeting on Friday to discuss and make any changes or directives for the county, reviewing Governor Abbott’s executive order which allows businesses to re-open under certain conditions.

 

“This discussion will include steps on how to open out Taylor County facilities to the public in a safe manner for our employees and our citizens,” said Judge Downing A. Bolls, Jr.

 

 

By: Martin Mercado

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Governor reveals what he calls Phase 1 of reopening Texas

 

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, delivers remarks during a press conference on April 21, 2020, updating the public on the state’s response to COVID-19. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

 

AUSTIN, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott on Monday revealed his plan to re-open Texas. Abbott said his previous “Stay Home” executive order was set to expire on April 30, and he will allow it to expire.

 

The May 1 List, Phase 1 is:

 

  • Restaurants
  • All theaters
  • Malls

 

They may reopen on May 1 with no more than 25 percent occupancy. Abbott said his order supersedes all local orders. Businesses are allowed but not required to reopen.

 

Museums and Libraries may also re-open with no more than 25 percent occupancy and no hands-on exhibits. Phase 2 would be 50 percent instead of 25 percent.

 

Abbott said small counties with five or fewer cases can increase capacity to 50 percent instead of 25 percent on May 1.

 

Outdoor sports may resume with no more than 4 people at once, such as golf or tennis. Licensed healthcare professionals, such as dentists, may return to work

Barber shops, gyms, and nail salons are still closed on May 1, but hopefully might reopen by mid-May, Abbott said.

 

 

By: newsweb@everythinglubbock.com

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


City of Abilene reports 6 new COVID-19 cases, total up to 191

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — The City of Abilene reports six new positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of 191.

 

According to numbers released by the city on Thursday, 57 people have now recovered from the virus, up from just 30 on Wednesday.

 

The increase of six new cases comes on the heels of two consecutive days of at least 20 new positive results.

 

There have been three COVID-19 related deaths in Abilene.

 

For available demographic information, see the graphic provided by the City of Abilene below:

 

 

 

By: Joey Hollingsworth

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


AbiMar Foods resumes operations 1 week after closing, testing all employees for COVID-19

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — AbiMar Foods says they have resumed operations just more than a week after closing and testing all employees for COVID-19.

 

According to a news release issued late Tuesday afternoon, the company started a gradual resuming of operations at 7 a.m. April 21.

 

AbiMar says they will implement a first phase with a small group of workers to allow them to “validate the prevention measures implemented,” with plans to gradually increase production.

 

The news release states that the company created a social agreement where they and the employees recognize the importance of safety guidelines provided by the City of Abilene and Department of Health, and intend to adhere to said guidelines.

 

The decision to resume operations was already shared with the City of Abilene and the Abilene Health Department, according to the news release.

 

At time of publication, 52 employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

The entire news release reads as follows:

 

" Abilene, April 21, 2020. After the voluntary closing of operations last Monday, April 13 for a massive COVID-19 testing, AbiMar Foods announces its decision to gradually resume the operation starting at 07:00 am, today April 21, 2020.

 

The company will implement a first phase, with a small group of workers, which will allow the company to validate the prevention measures implemented. As safety conditions are validated the Company will keep gradually escalating production.

 

Based on the guidelines provided by the City, the Department of Health and the actions defined to resume operations, the company generated a social agreement, where the employer and employees mutually recognize the importance of said measures and express their intention to thoroughly adhere to them in the workplace, family and community settings in order to jointly help contain the spread of the virus.

 

This decision to reopen was already shared with the City and the Abilene Health Department, in line with the permanent communication and coordinated work scheme that the company has maintained with local authorities.

 

Apart from being employees of AbiMar Foods, our collaborators are members of a community that needs them as an example and a benchmark to help care for the health of the entire Abilene population. We thank all of them for their positive attitude throughout this process.

 

AbiMar Foods is determined to continue managing the impact of COVID-19 with the greatest sense of humanity, while being clear that people and the care of the health and life thereof are of outmost importance. "

 

 

By: Joey Hollingsworth

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


20 new positive COVID-19 cases in Taylor County, including 5 from AbiMar foods

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The City of Abilene reports a total of 164 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Taylor County, 52 of whom are employed at AbiMar foods.

 

The demographics presented by the City not including AbiMar’s positive cases show 2 of the COVID-19 patients have died in Abilene but 28 have recovered. Most patients are currently in self-isolation at home, though some are hospitalized. Their current conditions have not been disclosed.

 

An outbreak of COVID-19 at AbiMar Foods in Abilene has led to the testing of all 500-600 employees, revealing 10% of the company’s workforce is positive for the virus.

 

During a press conference Monday morning, the City of Abilene addressed the outbreak, saying AbiMar has been proactive in fighting COVID-19, even before their first positive case.

 

As of Sunday afternoon, 511 AbiMar employees had been tested, and 80 of those tests were still pending.

 

Detail of COVID-19 positives for April 21, 2020

 

Disability Resources, Inc. has also had several cases, one of which has been fatal, and the City of Abilene confirmed a Southwest Drive Walmart employee and customer tested positive for the virus earlier this month.

 

According to the Texas Department of Justice website as of April 18, two inmates from the Robertson Unit have tested positive, and there are two test results still pending. 111 are in medical restriction and 4 in medical isolation.

 

A Limited Shelter in Place Order is currently in effect through April 30, shutting down non-essential businesses and only permitting people to leave their homes for essential activities.

 

BigCountryHomepage will continue to provide the latest information about COVID-19 in Abilene. Check back for any updates.

 

No photo description available.

 

 

 

By: Martin Mercado

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Abilene State Park reopens, with COVID-19 restrictions

 

Abilene State Park was open for business Monday, reflecting directives by Gov. Greg Abbott for businesses in the state begin reopening.  

 

The park joined others now open for day use only as part of a broader effort to begin "reopening the state of Texas," according to a statement from Texas Parks and Wildlife.

 

A few regulars had already returned for their daily strolls, said Candyce Johnson, assistant superintendent at Abilene State Park, Monday morning.

 

 "They're all retired people, and they come out here and go for a walk in the park every day," she said.

 

Johnson expected much more public use on Saturday. 

 

One of the many scenic trails at Abilene State Park.

One of the many scenic trails at Abilene State Park. (Photo: Reporter-News file photo)

 

There has not been a date given for when parks will allow camping, she said.

 

A number of guidelines will be imposed on visitors to maintain safety. Among them:

 

  •  Visitors must wear face coverings.

 

  •  No groups of more than five people are allowed.

 

  •  Social distancing of at least six feet must be maintained from people not in one's individual group.

 

If park personnel see large groups congregating, "we will tell them they need to break it up," Johnson said.

 

  •  Advance day pass reservations are required. Those may be reserved online or by calling 512-389-8900.

 

If possible, Johnson said, visitors are being asked to print out their day-use permits at home.

 

Visitors to any Texas State Park should check the system's Alert Map regularly for the latest information about the status of individual parks.

 

As parks open, employees will maintain policies for their own safety, such as wearing face marks and minimizing contact with the public, Johnson said.

 

 

By: Brian Bethel

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


No new positive COVID-19 cases in Taylor County, 47 from AbiMar Foods, 2 inmates from Robertson Unit

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The City of Abilene reports a total of 144 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Taylor County, 47 of whom are employed at AbiMar foods.

 

The City clarified that the number of known AbiMar related positive cases has changed from 50 to 47 as 3 positives were accidentally attributed to AbiMar in the April 19, 2020 report.

 

The City of Abilene has administered COVID-19 tests, most of which have been negative. However, results from tests are still pending.

 

3% of the COVID-19 patients have died in Abilene but 29% have recovered. Most patients are currently in self-isolation at home, though some are hospitalized. Their current conditions have not been disclosed.

 

An outbreak of COVID-19 at AbiMar Foods in Abilene has led to the testing of all 500-600 employees, revealing 10% of the company’s workforce is positive for the virus.

 

During a press conference Monday morning, the City of Abilene addressed the outbreak, saying AbiMar has been proactive in fighting COVID-19, even before their first positive case.

 

As of Sunday afternoon, 511 AbiMar employees had been tested, and 80 of those tests were still pending.

 

Disability Resources, Inc. has also had several cases, one of which has been fatal, and the City of Abilene confirmed a Southwest Drive Walmart employee and customer tested positive for the virus earlier this month.

 

According to the Texas Department of Justice website as of April 18, two inmates from the Robertson Unit have tested positive, and there are two test results still pending. 111 are in medical restriction and 4 in medical isolation.

 

A Limited Shelter in Place Order is currently in effect through April 30, shutting down non-essential businesses and only permitting people to leave their homes for essential activities.

 

BigCountryHomepage will continue to provide the latest information about COVID-19 in Abilene. Check back for any updates.

 

Detail of COVID19 numbers for April 20, 2020

 

 

 

 

By: Martin Mercado

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


AbiMar Foods Outbreak: 10% of workforce positive for COVID-19, all 500-600 employees tested

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – An outbreak of COVID-19 at AbiMar Foods in Abilene has led to the testing of all 500-600 employees, revealing 10% of the company’s workforce is positive for the virus.

 

During a press conference Monday morning, the City of Abilene addressed the outbreak, saying AbiMar has been proactive in fighting COVID-19, even before their first positive case.

 

On March 17, the AbiMar CEO attended a meeting with the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health Department to learn more about how to keep their employees safe during the pending COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In the following days, they implemented more than 50 measures to follow CDC recommendations, including screening all employees, cleaning and sanitizing every third shift, and moving 90% of their employees to telecommute.

 

The first positive COVID-19 case was confirmed at AbiMar Foods on March 30, and by April 10, there were 5 cases, with the virus present at both their north and south locations.

 

Prior to April 10, the Health Department says AbiMar Foods had been proactively working to identify and isolate employees who were potentially exposed to the virus or had contact a positive case.

 

By the time the business closed until further notice on April 13, more than 100 employees were quarantined at home with full pay.

 

Once an outbreak was identified at AbiMar Foods, the Abilene Diagnostic Clinic approached the CEO, and he agreed to pay for testing for all 500-600 AbiMar employees.

 

50 total employees tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 19.

 

Now, City Manager Robert Hanna says AbiMar is going to follow a tentative tiered plan for reopening, which will begin with cleaning and sanitizing both factory locations, followed by resuming operations with a reduced workforce.

 

Employee screenings will also continue and all new hires will be tested for COVID-19 before entering the factories. Masks, gloves, and in certain cases even face shields will be provided and required.

 

If there are additional positive cases after reopening, AbiMar Foods and the City will work together to establish a different plan.

 

AbiMar Foods’ potential reopening date has not been determined.

 

A total of 144 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the City of Abilene, with testing numbers being updated each afternoon.

 

BigCountryHomepage will continue to provide information about COVID-19 in Abilene. Check back for the latest.

 

 

By: Erica Garner

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Abbott issues executive order designed to re-open Texas in waves, all schools closed until fall

 

AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Friday a complex executive order that is designed to re-open Texas in several waves over the next several weeks.

Strike Force

The order created a statewide strike force comprised of business and medical leaders from around the state, including Matress Mack and Ross Perot Jr.

 

It will also be headed by Texas’ top political leaders such as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen, and Attorney General Ken Paxton.

 

Abbott stressed that while he is beginning a re-opening in Texas, it “must occur in stages.”

 

Re-openings

Beginning on Monday, April 20, all state parks will be allowed to re-open. Visitors will still be required to wear face masks, stay six feet away from people that do not live in the same home, and a ban on groups larger than five.

 

On Wednesday, April 22, current restriction on medical procedures and surgeries will be loosened. Abbott claimed that hospitals have “plenty of capacity” and that the state had a large supply of protection gear for doctors.

 

An example of a procedure that will be allowed to restart is a diagnostic to test for cancer.

 

By Friday, April 24, all retail stores in the state will be allowed to operate as “retail-to-go.” It will operate the same way as restaurants have been doing takeout service since the social distancing restrictions went into effect back in early March.

 

Abbott did not mention when restaurants and bars would be able to re-open for full, in-house service.

 

A revised plan for a potential second wave of re-openings will be announced in 10 days on April 27. Abbott said that if the curve begins to go back up, restrictions will go back in place.

 

Schools

A key point of Abbott’s announcement was that all schools in Texas are ordered closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

 

Teachers will be allowed back into their classrooms to clean out supplies or to prepare lesson plans for potential summer classes.

 

Pressure has been growing from conservatives on Abbott and governors statewide to begin the process of allowing people to go back to work at the start of May.

 

Abbott’s stay-at-home directive is set to expire April 30 as are many orders around the country.

 

In Tyler, Representative Matt Schaefer (R) said that it would be on individual Texans to practice social distancing and protect those who cannot physically protect themselves.

 

On Thursday, Tyler Mayor Martin Heines urged residents to take social distancing seriously and to not rush in returning to normal routines.

 

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran also said he wanted to begin a “responsible restart” as soon as possible, but that his decision “would not be emotionally based.”

 

In East Texas, there are nearly 600 confirmed cases throughout the region. Here is the most recent tally:

 

  • Smith County – 112, 2 deaths
  • Nacogdoches County – 72, 6 deaths
  • Bowie County –70, 5 deaths
  • Gregg County – 49
  • Shelby County – 46
  • Harrison County – 36, 2 deaths
  • Panola County – 33, 3 deaths
  • Rusk County – 27, 1
  • Angelina County – 23
  • Polk County – 14
  • Henderson County – 12
  • Van Zandt County – 11, 1 death
  • San Augustine County – 11, 1 death
  • Cherokee County – 10, 1 death
  • Upshur County – 9
  • Titus County – 8
  • Cass County – 8
  • Anderson County – 6
  • Wood County – 6
  • Camp County – 6
  • Hopkins County – 4
  • Marion County – 4
  • Trinity County – 4
  • Morris County – 3
  • Marion – 4
  • Rains – 2
  • Franklin County – 1

 

 

By: Patrick Cunningham

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


City of Abilene reports 2nd COVID-19 related death

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — An Abilene man has become the city’s second COVID-19 related death.

 

According to a news release from the City of Abilene, a man in his 70s with underlying health conditions died at Hendrick Medical Center on Wednesday.

 

The man contracted COVID-19 through community contact, according to the news release.

 

This death is not related to cases at Disability Resources, Inc., the release states.

 

A female in her 40s was the first in Abilene to die after contracting the coronavirus on April 4.

 

The entire news release reads as follows:

 

"ABILENE, Texas – The Abilene Taylor County Public Health District reports the second COVID-19 related death for Taylor County on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

 

The deceased patient was a male in his 70s, with underlying health conditions, who was being cared for at Hendrick Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit. The deceased patient’s infection was acquired through community contact. This case was not related to Disability Resources, Incorporated.

 

The City of Abilene extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased patient.

 

This and all future COVID-19 related deaths in Taylor County will be reported through the City’s daily testing numbers report that can be found at www.abilenetx.gov/covid19, the City’s website homepage, and its Facebook and Twitter social media pages.

 

The Abilene Taylor-County Public Health District urges area residents to slow the spread of COVID-19 by:

– Practicing social distancing, and staying home as much as possible

– Wearing a mask when away from home

– Washing or sanitizing hands often, and avoid touching your face

– Covering sneezes and coughs

– Staying home if you are sick

– Routinely cleaning commonly touched surfaces

 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, fatigue, and difficulty breathing.

 

If you may be showing symptoms for COVID-19, call your medical provider, the Abilene Taylor-County Public Health District at 325.692.5600, Abilene Regional Medical Center at 325.428.1000, Abilene Diagnostic Clinic at 325.437.8602, or text covidhelp to Hendrick Health System at 325.216.4824.

Please do not arrive at a medical facility without first making contact by phone and receiving instruction."

 

 

By: Joey Hollingsworth

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Taylor County extends closure of courthouses, county offices through April 30

 

Source: Taylor County Commissioner's Court

 

TAYLOR COUNTY, Texas — Taylor County Commissioners passed a resolution on Tuesday that extends the closure to public access to the Taylor County courthouses and offices until April 30.

 

The commissioners cite the extension as taking "extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of [COVID-19] in our community."

 

Public correspondence with the County will be handled exclusively by phone, mail, online or appointment for the next 15 days.

 

Original Story (March 20):

ABILENE, Texas — Taylor County Commissioners voted unanimously Friday to make access to the courthouses -- and all county offices -- "by appointment only" due to the coronavirus.

 

Judge Downing Bolls said there were several incidents that prompted the decision.

 

The most alarming of those was a person from "a county west of here," who showed up Thursday for a hearing that had been canceled. They asked a bailiff about it and then left.

 

On their way home, the person was notified that a family member tested positive for the coronavirus.

 

The bailiff was told to contact the health department who cleared them to return to work because the bailiff was feeling well and did not come within 6-feet of the person.

 

"What were doing right now is not sufficient," said Bolls.

 

The new courthouse, old courthouse and Taylor County Plaza will all be by appointment only through at least April 3.

 

Bolls said they could extend that if necessary.

 

Once there is a positive case of coronavirus in Taylor County they will declare a state of emergency.

 

Starting Monday, Taylor County Courthouse visitors will be asked screening questions before being allowed past security.

 

  1. Have you recently traveled outside of the United States or to any place known to have documented cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
  2. Have you had any contact with a suspected COVID-19 case?
  3. Has the individual had a fever within the last seven (7) days?
  4. Does the individual have a cough, cold, or flu like symptoms?

 

The Taylor County Sheriff's Office is asking you to stay everyone that needs to conduct business at any Taylor County building to please stay home if you are sick.

 

If you are sick and have court, please contact your attorney before coming to court.

 

If you do not have an attorney, please call the court directly, explain your situation, and ask for instructions.

 

 

By AJ Gersh

Copyright © 2020, KTXS12 ABC. All Rights Reserved


7 new COVID-19 confirmed cases in Taylor County, total of 68

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — The City of Abilene reported seven new cases of COVID-19 Monday, pushing the total number of positive cases to 68.

 

The city reports 1028 tests have been conducted, with 156 test results still pending, and 804 negative results.

 

Detail of COVID-19 testing numbers for April 13, 2020

 

New positives include:

 

  • Case 62: M, 30s, self-isolated, contact w/ confirmed case
  • Case 63: M, 20s, self-isolated, pending investigation
  • Case 64: M, 30s, self-isolated, pending investigation
  • Case 65: M, 50s, self-isolated, pending investigation
  • Case 66: M, 20s, self-isolated, pending investigation
  • Case 67: M, 20s, self-isolated, pending investigation
  • Case 68: M, 20s, self-isolated, pending investigation

 

Another person has recovered since the last data was released, bringing the number of recoveries in Abilene to 12.

 

There has still only been one COVID-19 related death reported in the Key City.

 

 

 

 

By: Martin Mercado

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Coronavirus COVID-19: Abilene, Big Country updates; 2 new cases on Easter

 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Taylor County reports two new cases of coronavirus on Easter 

 

The Abilene Taylor County Public Health District on Sunday reported two new cases for the coronavirus COVID-19, bringing the total to 61.

 

Four new cases were reported Saturday.

 

The two new patients' ages, treatment and possible cause of exposure are:

 

  • Male in his 30s, self-isolated, pending investigation.
  • Male in his 60s, hospitalized, pending investigation.

 

Eleven patients have recovered from the illness, nine currently are hospitalized and 40 are self-isolated. 

 

The age distribution of the 61 patients who have tested positive are:

 

  • 0-19: 3
  • 20-29: 15
  • 30-39: 12
  • 40-49: 9
  • 50-59: 7
  • 60-69: 6
  • 70-plus: 9 

 

The transmission causes for the 61 patients are:

 

  • Travel: 7
  • Local: 22
  • Contact with confirmed case: 17
  • Pending investigation: 15

 

Coronavirus by the numbers

 

Abilene (updated 4/12):

 

  • Tests conducted: 978
  • Positive results: 61
  • Negative results: 756
  • Pending: 161

 

Texas: Cases, 13,484; Hospitalized, 1,338; Fatalities, 271; Total tests, 124,553; Recovered (estimated) 2,014. 

 

Big Country counties with reported confirmed cases: Brown, 10;  Comanche 3, Eastland, 3; Jones, 2; Scurry, 2; Callahan, 1; Howard, 1;  Knox, 1; Mitchell, 1; Stephens, 1. 

 

Select West Texas counties: Lubbock, 270; Potter (Amarillo), 70; Randall (Canyon), 64; Wichita (Wichita Falls), 56; Ector (Odessa), 41; Tom Green (San Angelo), 35; Midland, 32.

 

Updated 3:50 p.m. 4/12

 

Source: City of Abilene, Texas Department of State Health Services, Comanche County, Mitchell County Hospital, Stephens Memorial Hospital, San Angelo Standard-Times, Scurry County

 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Coronavirus by the numbers

 

Abilene (updated 4/11):

 

  • Tests conducted: 971
  • Positive results: 59
  • Negative results: 754
  • Pending: 158

 

Texas: Cases, 12,561; Hospitalized, 1,514; Fatalities, 254; Total tests, 120,533; Recovered (estimated) 1,617. 

 

Big Country counties with reported confirmed cases: Brown, 10;  Comanche 3, Eastland, 3; Callahan, 1; Howard, 1;  Jones, 2; Knox, 1; Mitchell, 1; Scurry, 2; Stephens, 1. 

 

Select West Texas counties: Lubbock, 249; Potter (Amarillo), 66; Randall (Canyon), 60; Wichita (Wichita Falls), 54; Ector (Odessa), 40; Tom Green (San Angelo), 35; Midland, 31.

 

Updated 3:20 p.m. 4/11

 

Source: City of Abilene, Texas Department of State Health Services, Comanche County, Mitchell County Hospital, Stephens Memorial Hospital, San Angelo Standard-Times, Scurry County

 

 

By: Laura Gutschke

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


Gov. Abbott extends disaster Declaration for all Texas counties

 

Gov. Gregg Abbott addresses COVID-19 (SBG file photo)

 

AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Abbott announced Sunday he is extending his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

According to a press release, Gov. Abbott initially issued the Disaster Declaration March 13, providing the state a number of resources to serve Texans effectively. 

 

"By extending my Disaster Declaration, we are ensuring the state of Texas continues to have adequate resources and capabilities to support our communities and protect public health," said Governor Abbott. "I urge all Texans to continue practicing social distancing and abide by the guidelines laid out by the CDC and my Executive Orders to slow the spread of COVID-19."

 

Currently, Gov. Abbott has not given a set date as to when the newly renewed Disaster Declaration is set to expire. 

This is a developing story and will continue to update as more information becomes available.

 

 

By SBG San Antonio

Copyright © 2020, KTXS12 ABC. All Rights Reserved


Clinical trial to treat COVID-19 begin including Hydroxychloroquine and Remdesivir

 

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (green) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (purple), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.NIAID

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WLNS) – A clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 has begun.

The first participants in the trial are from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

COVID-19 is usually a respiratory infection, but it can damage multiple organ systems including the heart and lungs.

“Effective therapies for COVID-19 are urgently needed,” said James P. Kiley, director, Division of Lung Diseases, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “Hydroxychloroquine has showed promise in a lab setting against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and preliminary reports suggest potential efficacy in small studies with patients. However, we really need clinical trial data to determine whether hydroxychloroquine is effective and safe in treating COVID-19.”

 

Currently, no therapies have been demonstrated to prevent the progression of COVID-19 to severe illness, but several medicines available in the United States have been proposed as potential therapies.

“Many U.S. hospitals are currently using hydroxychloroquine as first-line therapy for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 despite extremely limited clinical data supporting its effectiveness,” said Wesley Self, M.D., M.P.H., emergency medicine physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and PETAL Clinical Trials Network investigator leading the ORCHID trial. “Thus, data on hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 are urgently needed to inform clinical practice.”

Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat malaria and rheumatoid conditions such as arthritis. The drug has shown antiviral properties which modify the immune system which leads researchers to believe it may also be a useful treatment of COVID-19.

The drug does have risks even in the short-term such as causing cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, and hypoglycemia.

 

The National Institutes of Health also recently launched a trial to study Remdesivir as a possible treatment for COVID-19.These two trials will provide data on the effectiveness and safety of each agent versus placebo in the urgent race to find effective therapies for treating COVID-19.

For more information about the study, visit ClinicalTrials.gov and search for NCT04332991.

 

 

By: Ronnie Das

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Mental health resources for veterans during COVID-19

 

The combination of job losses, social isolation and mounting anxiety connected to the coronavirus pandemic could hit veterans especially hard in the coming weeks and months, according to a report from the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

“COVID-19 could create a ‘perfect storm’ of developments that could threaten the mental health of many veterans,” said Rajeev Ramchand, a research fellow at the Bob Woodruff Foundation and author of the research paper.

About one in every seven veterans employed in America today works in an industry considered high-risk for layoffs in the coming weeks, according to a report by Military Times.

In addition to the financial worries, veterans already facing mental health difficulties could see those problems aggravated by public health efforts to stop the outbreak.

 

“There is likely to be a surge in demand for mental health care services, but even before COVID-19 the nation was only meeting a quarter of the demand,” the report states.

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency has resources available to help you manage the stress, fear, anxiety or feelings of depression you may be experiencing.

The MVAA is available for veterans, family members, and caregivers at 1-800-MICH-VET or visiting michiganveterans.com. For the latest VA updates on COVID-19, visit va.gov/coronavirus.

There are nearly 600,000 veterans in Michigan and Ingham County has the state’s ninth-largest veteran population with about 14,000 veterans.

 

 

By: Ronnie Das

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Scientists are reporting promising results for a new drug to treat COVID-19

 

A rendering of coronavirus via the CDC.

 

Researchers are working on a drug that interferes with the coronavirus’s ability to make copies of itself, according to a report by National Public Radio.

Scientists from Emory University in Atlanta, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville first tested the drug known as EIDD-2801 in cells cultured in the laboratory.

They then gave mice that had been infected with coronaviruses that cause either SARS or MERS, and showed that it reduced the amount of virus in their bodies.

The researchers say they were unable to test EIDD-2801 in mice infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 because right now most mice are not susceptible to infection with that virus.

Timothy Sheahan of the University of North Carolina said in a press release that “in normal times, testing in non-human primates would be the obvious next step on the road to human testing. Since these are not normal times, this could be skipped and evaluated under compassionate use and established clinical trials in people. The goal is to directly attack the virus, lessen symptoms, decrease pathogenesis and save lives.”

 

 

By: Ronnie Das

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


US Coronavirus death toll tops 11,00

 

With its biggest one-day jump yet, New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus officially eclipsed the number of those killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

 

At least 3,202 people have died in New York from COVID-19, according to the count released Tuesday by the city. Across the U.S., the death toll reached about 11,000, with around 370,000 confirmed infections.

 

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson remained in intensive care with the virus, while Japan’s leader declared a monthlong state of emergency for Tokyo and six other regions to keep the virus from ravaging the world’s oldest population.

 

Here are some of AP’s top stories Tuesday on the world’s coronavirus pandemic.

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:

 

— The latest statistical models show a glimmer of hope, forecasting fewer deaths in the U.S. before August. The only problem with this bit of relatively good news? It’s almost certainly wrong. All models are wrong. Some are just less wrong than others — and those are the ones that public health officials rely on.

 

— President Donald Trump and his administration are promoting an anti-malaria drug not officially approved for fighting the new coronavirus, even though scientists say more testing is needed before it’s proven safe and effective against COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know about the old malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.

 

— The coronavirus is upending divorced families’ custody arrangements as parents get sick or exposed to the illness. In other cases, it is driving already feuding exes to battle over how seriously the other is heeding stay-at-home orders.

 

— Colleges across the nation are scrambling to close deep budget holes and some have been pushed to the brink of collapse after the coronavirus outbreak triggered financial losses that could total more than $100 million at some institutions.

 

— In a housing complex in the Moroccan city of Sale, more than 900 people live in crowded rooms without running water or an income to support them. While the North African country entered total lockdown in mid-March, self-isolation and social distancing are a luxury that families in this complex cannot afford.

 

— The measure of a nation — its DNA, or sometimes its political system — becomes more visible when its leader is stricken in office. How to respond, and what to tell — or not tell — the populace? The hospitalization of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the first head of government to be stricken by the coronavirus, has pushed this matter to the fore in the United Kingdom.

 

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

 

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

 

Here are the symptoms of the virus compared with the common flu.

 

One of the best ways to prevent spread of the virus is washing your hands with soap and water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends first washing with warm or cold water and then lathering soap for 20 seconds to get it on the backs of hands, between fingers and under fingernails before rinsing off.

 

You should wash your phone, too. Here’s how.

 

TRACKING THE VIRUS: Drill down and zoom in at the individual county level, and you can access numbers that will show you the situation where you are, and where loved ones or people you’re worried about live.

 

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ONE NUMBER:

 

— 659,000: The coronavirus wiped out 659,000 service jobs in the U.S. in March. The pandemic is almost sure to leave a mark on the way people work, shop and socialize, perhaps permanently shifting the way many service industries operate.

 

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IN OTHER NEWS:

 

— 90-YEAR-OLD SURVIVOR: Anna Fortunato, a 90-year-old survivor of COVID-19, has a message for the rest of us: Do not be afraid. Do not despair.

 

— YOUNG PILOT: A 16-year-old pilot has turned his flying lessons into missions of mercy, bringing desperately needed supplies to rural hospitals in need.

 

— CELEBRITIES UNVARNISHED: They may be revealing a new side to their lives during the lockdown, but there also has been backlash to the wealth inequity regular Americans see online.

 

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By: The Associated Press

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Governor Abbott updates us on efforts in Texas to combat COVID-19

 

AUSTIN — Texas Governor Greg Abbott gave an update Monday on the state of Texas' efforts to combat COVID-19 from the Texas Department of Public Safety warehouse facility in Austin.

 

The governor updated us on how the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) is going on throughout the state of Texas. The Governor also announced that Texas received 2.5 million masks in the past 24 hours, and will receive an additional 3 million masks by April 11th.

 

He broke down by region the number of supplies that have been distributed over the past week in Texas, including masks, face shields, gloves, gowns, and coveralls. The Governor also talked about the distribution process for PPE in Texas.

 

He was joined for the press conference by Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, and Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd.

 

"It is vital that our health care workers and first responders on the front lines have the personal protective equipment they need to stay safe as they respond to COVID-19," said Governor Abbott. "The Supply Chain Strike Force is working closely with the Texas Division of Emergency Management to exhaust all avenues for the purchasing and delivery of these critical supplies. We continue to make tremendous progress to distribute these resources throughout the state, and with more supplies on the way, we are strengthening our state’s ability to protect our health care workers and the patients they serve. I thank all of our health care workers and first responders as well as the supply chain workers who are working tirelessly to deliver this essential equipment to Texas."

 

 

 

By SBG San Antonio

Copyright © 2020, KTXS12 ABC. All Rights Reserved


LIVE NOW: Coronavirus peak coming as US grapples with increasing cases

 

The coronavirus outbreak finally snapped the United States’ record-breaking hiring streak of nearly 10 years as employers cut 701,000 jobs because of the pandemic that’s all but shut down the nation’s economy.

 

The unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% from a 50-year low of 3.5%.

 

Meanwhile, U.S. and European medical workers struggling to save ailing patients Friday watched supplies of medicine, protective equipment and breathing machines dwindle by the hour.

 

Here are some of AP’s top stories Friday on the pandemic.

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:

 

—Does another 2008 Great Recession or even a 1930s-like Great Depression loom in the U.S.? It seems almost certain after nearly 10 million Americans lost their jobs and applied for unemployment benefits in the past two weeks — a record high that reflects the near-complete shutdown of the U.S. economy. Here’s what you need to know if you’ve just lost your job.

 

—A makeshift intensive-care unit in northeastern Spain looks nothing like the hospital library it once was. Inside, the tension is palpable. Medical workers are underequipped and wearing improvised protective gear as they treat the critically sick.

 

—With coronavirus deaths climbing rapidly in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday he will use his authority to take ventilators and protective gear from private hospitals and companies that aren’t using them, complaining that states are competing against each other for vital equipment in eBay-like bidding wars.

 

— The Trump administration is formalizing new guidance to recommend that many Americans wear face coverings in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, as the president is aggressively defending his response to the public health crisis.

 

—A U.S. newspaper industry already under stress is facing an unprecedented new challenge. Readers desperate for information are more reliant than ever on local media as the coronavirus spreads across the U.S. But newspapers and other publications are under pressure as advertising craters. They are cutting jobs, staff hours and pay, dropping print editions — and in some cases shutting down entirely.

 

— The under-construction Athletes Village for the Tokyo Olympics could be used as a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients. The Tokyo governor, Yuriko Koike, has been talking about the possibility. The massive development on Tokyo Bay is to house up to 11,000 Olympic and 4,400 Paralympic athletes and staff during the games.

 

___

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

 

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

 

Here are the symptoms of the virus compared with the common flu.

 

One of the best ways to prevent spread of the virus is washing your hands with soap and water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends first washing with warm or cold water and then lathering soap for 20 seconds to get it on the backs of hands, between fingers and under fingernails before rinsing off.

 

You should wash your phone, too. Here’s how.

 

TRACKING THE VIRUS: Drill down and zoom in at the individual county level, and you can access numbers that will show you the situation where you are, and where loved ones or people you’re worried about live.

 

___

 

ONE NUMBER:

 

— 1975: The nearly full point increase in the U.S. unemployment rate from February to March was the sharpest monthly rise since 1975.

 

___

 

IN OTHER NEWS:

 

— LIFE INTERRUPTED: The patterns of our daily routines are now replaced by the patterns of empty parking lots, rows of school buses sitting idle and the long shadows of solitary figures in the early spring sunshine.

 

— FEEDING THE FRONT LINES: A group of tech-savvy, entrepreneurial San Francisco friends wanted to help two groups devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. They came up with a plan that involved soliciting donations, tapping friends in the restaurant world and getting San Francisco hospitals to accept free food cooked up by some of the city’s top chefs.

 

— HOPE IN BLOOD: Doctors around the world are dusting off a century-old treatment for infections: Infusions of blood plasma teeming with immune molecules that helped survivors beat the new coronavirus. There’s no proof it will work, but former patients in Houston and New York were early donors, and now hospitals and blood centers are getting ready for potentially hundreds.

 

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By: The Associated Press

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Worldwide coronavirus cases tops 1 million

 

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Confirmed cases of coronavirus top 1 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University tally.

 

The coronavirus outbreak has thrown 10 million Americans out of work in just two weeks, the swiftest, most stunning collapse the U.S. job market has ever witnessed, and economists warn unemployment could reach levels not seen since the Depression, as the economic damage piles up around the world.

 

The bleak news Thursday — a record-shattering 6.6 million new unemployment claims on top of last week’s unprecedented 3.3 million — came as the competition for scarce ventilators, masks and other protective gear seemed to grow more desperate and deaths mounted with alarming speed in Italy, Spain and New York, the most lethal hot spot in the nation, with nearly 2,400 lives lost.

 

The mounting economic fallout almost certainly signals the onset of a global recession, with job losses that are likely to dwarf those of the Great Recession more than a decade ago.

 

“My anxiety is through the roof right now, not knowing what’s going to happen,” said Laura Wieder, laid off from her job managing a now-closed sports bar in Bellefontaine, Ohio.

 

Worldwide the number of infections hit another gloomy milestone — 1 million, with more than 50,000 deaths, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. But the true numbers are believed to be much higher, because of testing shortages, many mild cases that have gone unreported, and suspicions that some countries are covering up the extent of their outbreaks.

 

With over 220,000 people infected in the U.S. and the death toll topping 5,300, sobering preparations were under way. The Federal Emergency Management Agency asked the Pentagon for 100,000 body bags because of the possibility funeral homes will be overwhelmed, the military said.

 

The Democratic Party pushed its nominating convention back a month, to mid-August. And federal authorities proposed a $611,000 fine against the Seattle-area nursing home connected to at least 40 coronavirus deaths, accusing it of infractions that included failure to report and rapidly manage the outbreak.

 

Elsewhere around the world, the number of people applying for welfare benefits in Britain increased nearly tenfold to almost 1 million in the past couple of weeks. European unions estimate at least a million on the Continent lost their jobs over the same period, and say the actual number is probably far higher. Spain alone added over 300,000 to its unemployment rolls in March.

 

But the job losses there appear to be far smaller than in the U.S. because of Europe’s greater social safety nets, including government programs to reduce workers’ hours without laying them off, in the hope of bringing them back quickly once the crisis passes.

 

With its health care system in dire shape, Spain reported a record one-day number of deaths, 950, bringing its overall toll to about 10,000, despite signs that the infection rate is slowing.

 

Italy recorded 760 more deaths, for a total of 13,900, the worst of any country, but new infections continued to level off. More than 10,000 medical personnel in Italy have been infected and 69 doctors have died, authorities said.

 

The competition for ventilators, masks and other vital supplies was cutthroat.

 

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that the state is quickly running out of breathing machines: “At the current burn rate, we have enough ventilators for six days.”

 

He also said the state will pay a premium to manufacturers — and cover the cost of converting their factories, too — to produce gowns and other badly needed protective gear.

 

“But we need this like now. Not talking about two months, three months, four months,” Cuomo said. “We need these materials now.”

 

The governor has complained that the 50 states are competing against each other for protective gear and breathing machines, or are being outbid by the federal government, in a competition he likened to being on eBay.

 

In France, a top health official in the country’s hard-hit eastern region said American officials swooped in at a Chinese airport to spirit away a planeload of masks that France had ordered.

 

“On the tarmac, the Americans arrive, take out cash and pay three or four times more for our orders, so we really have to fight,” Dr. Jean Rottner, an emergency room doctor in Mulhouse, told RTL radio.

 

Nine leading European university hospitals warned they will run out of essential medicines for COVID-19 patients in intensive care in less than two weeks.

 

A shipment of nearly 5,900 medical masks that Alabama’s Montgomery County received from the U.S. government stockpile was unusable because of dry rot, the emergency management director said. The masks had a 2010 expiration date, according to the city of Montgomery.

 

President Donald Trump acknowledged on Wednesday that the federal stockpile is nearly depleted of the protective equipment needed by doctors and nurses, and some “horrific” days lie ahead.

 

In one of the worst hot spots around the country, Louisiana, deaths climbed to at least 310 and confirmed infections spiked 42 percent to nearly 9,200, in what Gov. John Bel Edwards attributed in part to backlogged test results finally coming back from laboratories.

 

“We want people focused on what they can do about it. Don’t be despondent. Don’t despair. Don’t throw your hands up,” he said. “We can determine how bad it gets by whether we comply with the social distancing, the stay-at-home order and all the hygiene we’ve been promoting.”

 

In Virginia’s Henrico County, a nursing home reported that coronavirus deaths there had climbed to 16 and that 92 residents had tested positive.

 

In New York, where hospitals are getting swamped with patients and the worst of the outbreak is still probably weeks away, more than 85,000 medical volunteers have stepped forward, according to Cuomo, who said about a quarter of them were from out of state. He thanked them profusely.

 

“I will be the first one in my car to go wherever this nation needs help as soon as we get past this. I will never forget how people across this country came to the aid of New Yorkers when they needed it,” he said.

 

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia. Over 200,000 people worldwide have recovered, by Johns Hopkins’ count.

 

With large portions of America under lockdown to try to contain the scourge, job losses for the world’s biggest economy could double to 20 million, and unemployment could spike to as high as 15% by the end of the month, many economists have said. Unemployment in the U.S. hasn’t been that high since the tail end of the Depression, just before the U.S. entered World War II.

 

“This kind of upending of the labor market in such a short time is unheard of,” said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank.

 

Roughly 90% of the U.S. population is now under stay-at-home orders, and many factories, restaurants, stores and other businesses are closed or have seen sales shrivel.

 

Laid-off workers can tap money made available in the $2.2 trillion rescue measure passed by Congress. It adds $600 a week to unemployment benefits, extends eligibility to 39 weeks and for the first time wraps in part-timers and workers in the so-called gig economy, such as Uber drivers.

 

Kathryn Lickteig, a cook in Kansas City, Missouri, signed up for unemployment compensation last week after the city shut down dine-in restaurants. She is hoping the extra $600 will help her ride out the shutdown instead of having to look for another job.

 

“It has eased my mind so much,” she said. “I do not have to actively go out and expose myself to the public and possibly get sick. I can stay home now and do my part in social distancing.”

 

Many recently unemployed workers have reported frustrations with jammed phone lines and overloaded websites as they try to apply for unemployment benefits.

 

Annie Kiley, 24, said it took her an hour to apply after she was thrown out of work as a manager of production and shipping at Montauk Brewing Co. in Montauk, New York.

 

”I can’t think too much of the future because it’s dismal,” she said.

 

 

By: The Associated Press

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved

 


No new positive COVID-19 cases in Taylor County; 150 tests still pending

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – There are no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Taylor County. The total number of confirmed cases remains 14.

 

According to the latest numbers released by the city Wednesday, 411 tests have been conducted, with 247 coming back negative and 150 still pending.

 

For more updates about the Corona virus in Taylor county you can visit https://abilenetx.gov/covid19

 

 

 

 

By: Martin Mercado

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved