Governor Abbott Holds Virtual Meeting On COVID-19 With Laredo, Eagle Pass Leaders

July 31, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today held virtual meetings with mayors, county judges, emergency managers, hospital executives, state legislators, and other local officials from the cities of Laredo and Eagle Pass to discuss ongoing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Governor Abbott and community leaders discussed a variety of topics including hospital capacity, testing, and new strategies to mitigate COVID-19 in South Texas. 

"I am grateful to our local partners in Eagle Pass and Laredo for their collaboration to protect health and safety in their communities," said Governor Abbott. "These leaders work tirelessly to meet the needs of their fellow Texans, and the State of Texas will continue to provide whatever resources they need to combat COVID-19." 

In Laredo, the Governor spoke with Senator Judith Zaffirini and Representative Tracy King, Webb County Judge Tano Tijerina, Mayor Pete Saenz, and local hospitals CEOs. As part of the meeting, the leaders discussed the additional hospital capacity provided to the community through the alternate care site established in Laredo. The leaders also discussed the need for expanded ICU bed capacity, and how the state and local government will work together to meet that need. The Governor noted that the state will provide additional ambulance resources and additional testing supplies for Webb County to test staff at local jails. Governor Abbott and local leaders also discussed strategies to further protect communities from the spread of COVID-19, including ways to promote best practices among Texans that will help mitigate the transmission of the virus and enforcement standards regarding the Governor's Executive Order. 

The Texas Military Department (TMD) and state physicians met with local officials and hospital executives yesterday ahead of today's meeting in Laredo. During this meeting, strategies for expanding ICU capacity were discussed. TMD will work with local hospitals on the best solutions for patient care and safety, and will work alongside Judge Tijerina and Mayor Saenz to increase testing in jails and other detention facilities. 

In Eagle Pass, Governor Abbott met with Senator Pete Flores, Representative Poncho Nevárez, Maverick County Judge David Saucedo, and Eagle Pass Mayor Luis Sifuentes. The Governor and local leaders discussed the need for additional testing for home health care workers. The Governor noted that the State of Texas help provide more medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) to these workers as well. Additionally, Governor Abbott and local leaders discussed school re-openings for the fall and ways to keep students safe. 

Governor Abbott's Chief of Staff Luis Saenz and Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd attended these meetings in person. 

The State of Texas has provided a variety of resources to the communities of Laredo and Eagle Pass, and will continue to provide more as needed. Most recently, Governor Abbott announced that the state has worked with Webb County officials to establish and operate an alternate care site, which will strengthen the community's hospital capacity. Previously, the Governor increased hospital capacity in Webb and Maverick Counties by suspending elective surgeries. Additionally, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the U.S. Department of Defense have provided contract staffing in these communities to assist hospitals, nursing homes, and more. Additionally, numerous cases of Remdesivir have been sent to Eagle Pass and Laredo hospitals.

TDEM has distributed large quantities of PPE to the communities of Laredo and Eagle Pass and the counties in which they reside. In Webb County, TDEM has distributed over 4.2 million masks, over one million gloves, nearly 400,000 gowns, 158,000 face shields, and more. In Maverick County, TDEM's distribution includes over 1.75 million masks, 137,900 gloves, and over 26,700 gowns, nearly 7,000 face shields, and more.