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Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Friday in a COVID-19 briefing that all Texas schools, including private schools and colleges, would remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. Abbott also discussed his plans to begin reopening the Texas economy at the press conference, creating a “statewide strike force” in charge of determining the steps towards restoring the economy.
Some of these steps have already been determined and enacted; state parks will reopen on Monday, April 20, but visitors must comply with social distancing guidelines. Restrictions on non-essential surgeries will be lifted on Wednesday, April 22. Finally, all stores will be allowed to operate “retail-to-go” starting Friday, April 24, provided they follow the guidelines given by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
As of April 17 at 11:45 a.m., there were 17,371 reported cases of COVID-19 in Texas and 428 fatalities, spread across 192 of its 254 counties. Harris County has 4,306 reported cases, the most of any county in Texas and more than double the next highest amount of cases by county (Dallas County, with 2,066 reported cases). Fort Bend County has the sixth most cases, with 656 reported. Harris County has 63 reported fatalities, the most of any county; Dallas County is again in second, with 50 fatalities, and Fort Bend has 16 fatalities. For more information on COVID-19 cases in Texas, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services’ COVID-19 case dashboard, found here.