By Elizabeth Findell
Texas officials are preparing for every possibility as they mobilize for possible public transmission of coronavirus, Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday.
The state activated its crisis State Management Operations Center Jan. 31, which is where Texas Department of State Health Services personnel respond to any local requests for assistance and coordinate activities and data, the governor said. DSHS is also preparing a network of state laboratories to process the coronavirus test.
"Texas state agencies have been working on this for well over a month now," Mr. Abbott said at a news conference, adding that he spoke on the phone earlier Thursday with Vice President Mike Pence, whom President Trump put in charge of response to the virus, to discuss how the federal government will be helping states.
Joint Base San Antonio has been a quarantine site for an airplane of Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, and from the infected Diamond Princess cruise ship. Most of those from Wuhan have already tested negative and been released, while 135 cruise passengers remain in quarantine on the base.
Ten people diagnosed with the virus are in Texas, including two who were evacuated from Wuhan and eight from the ship. All are in isolation off of the base in various stages of recovery, said Dr. Nancy Knight, a division director at the Centers for Disease Control.
Coronavirus patients with mild enough symptoms to not require a hospital stay are treated at the Texas Center for Infectious Disease in San Antonio, Mr. Abbott said.
The governor said any closures of schools or events such as next month's South By Southwest conference in Austin would be up to local authorities.
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