Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order To Strengthen Reporting Capabilities
WHEREAS, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, issued a disaster proclamation on March 13, 2020, certifying under Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) poses an imminent threat of disaster for all counties in the State of Texas; and
WHEREAS, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has determined that, as of March 19, 2020, COVID-19 represents a public health disaster within the meaning of Chapter 81 of the Texas Health and Safety Code; and
WHEREAS, I issued Executive Order GA-08 on March 19, 2020, and Executive Order GA-09 on March 22, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 disaster; and
WHEREAS, timely information about COVID-19 testing and hospital bed capacity is crucial to efforts to cope with the COVID-19 disaster; and
WHEREAS, Vice President Mike Pence, leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has requested that every governor in the United States order daily reporting of these crucial pieces of information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and
WHEREAS, the “governor is responsible for meeting . . . the dangers to the state and people presented by disasters” under Section 418.011 of the Texas Government Code, and the legislature has given the governor broad authority to fulfill that responsibility; and
WHEREAS, under Section 418.012, the “governor may issue executive orders . . . hav[ing] the force and effect of law.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, do hereby order the following on a statewide basis effective 11:59 p.m. on March 24, 2020:
All hospitals licensed under Chapter 241 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and all Texas state-run hospitals, except for psychiatric hospitals, shall submit to DSHS daily reports of hospital bed capacity, in the manner prescribed by DSHS. DSHS shall promptly share this information with the CDC.
Every public or private entity that is utilizing an FDA-approved test, including an emergency use authorization test, for human diagnostic purposes of COVID-19, shall submit to DSHS, as well as to the local health department, daily reports of all test results, both positive and negative. DSHS shall promptly share this information with the CDC.
This executive order shall remain in effect and in full force until modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by me or by a succeeding governor.
Given under my hand this the 24th day of March, 2020.
Governor Greg Abbott