There are now over 1,000 cases of COVID-19 in the United States, 21 of which are in Texas.
On Tuesday, the Texas House Public Health Committee met to evaluate the state’s response to the spread of the virus, and plan for what’s next.
State Rep. Senfronia Thompson chairs that committee, which is now assessing how prepared Texas is for an outbreak.
“I feel comfortable … that we’re going to be able to address the issue. We just hope it doesn’t get severe,” she told Texas Standard on Wednesday.
The top challenge, she told the Standard is for the state is to effectively disseminate accurate information. Another challenge is to make sure all the state agencies responsible for dealing with the outbreak have the supplies they need to do so.
Thompson urged Texans to keep washing their hands, and to stay away from large crowds and from people who’ve been exposed to the coronavirus.
For the moment, testing is limited. Thompson said health officials recommend only testing people who already have symptoms of COVID-19. And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been slow to release large numbers of test kits, more tests are becoming available.
Thompson said Texas state health officials are definitely concerned about the risks to those with compromised respiratory systems, but they’re especially focused on protecting the elderly from the virus because they have a greater risk of dying from COVID-19.
Thompson reiterated that Texas’ best strategy for dealing with the outbreak is threefold: to make sure adequate testing is available, that information is disseminated effectively and that there’s enough supplies available for disinfection.
Written by Caroline Covington.