SAN ANTONIO — Governor Abbott spoke at the Texas Division of Emergency Management warehouse in San Antonio Tuesday after receiving and update on personal protective equipment.
Abbott said that the opening of schools and the upcoming flu season will increase the need for PPE in the near future, but the state is prepared to provide it to schools with some help from the federal government.
TDEM has reportedly provided more than 130 million masks, 33 million gloves, 7 million gowns and 4 million face shields to various entities across the state.
"They have not been doing this alone, they have team members helping them doing this. Key team members include the National Guard," Abbott said.
He announced that last night, President Trump reauthorized and extended federal funding for the National Guard to remain in service through the end of the calendar year at a 100% reimbursement rate.
Abbott said that TDEM has distributed 59 million masks, 24,000 thermometers, 565,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, and 500,000 face shields to Texas schools at no cost to the local districts.
"We wanted to do this at no costs to the local schools. This is being provided by the state to ease the financial burdens on the local schools," Abbott said.
He reiterated that the decision to reopen for in-person classes will be up to local school boards, based on guidance from local public health authorities.
"We have ordered just over $1 billion worth of PPE," said TDEM Chief Nim Kidd. He said that if there's leftover equipment, it will be used as a stockpile for future events.