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Governor, president spotlight actions in pandemic, economic downturn

Governor, president spotlight actions in pandemic, economic downturn

AUSTIN — Texas, along with the rest of the nation and the world, continued to battle the COVID-19 pandemic last week as cases and deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus increased. Gov. Greg Abbott on May 7 met with President Trump in the White House. The president praised Abbott's leadership in handling the months-long medical emergency and in managing the resulting slowdown of the economy in the Lone Star State. Abbott said Texas has one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in the country, noting that half of the state's 254 counties have no cases or five or fewer cases of the virus. He said we have the knowledge and resources to contain COVID-19, adding that "It’s the people of Texas who have done a great job of slowing the spread" by washing their hands, wearing masks and practicing social distancing. "Because of that, we are now seeing more and more businesses that are opening up gradually to make sure we don’t expand the spread, but we’re doing so in a way that we’ll make sure Texas will once again reclaim its position as being the number one economy in the United States,” the governor said. Trump asked about the Dallas-area beauty salon owner who was arrested and jailed for violating one of Abbott's executive orders by prematurely opening for business. "She's free today,” the governor said during the Oval Office meeting, adding that authorities should exercise common sense in carrying out his executive orders. In the wake of the beauty salon case, Abbott modified his executive orders related to COVID-19 to eliminate confinement as a punishment for violating the orders. On May 10, cumulative figures posted by the Texas Department of State Health Services showed that some 37,860 people in Texas had been diagnosed with COVID-19, and 1,049 deaths resulting from the influenza-like virus had been confirmed. TEA: Graduation guidance The Texas Education Agency on May 5 announced graduation guidance for the class of 2020. Under the guidelines, ceremonies may take place as early as May 15 as the state continues the reopening of services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While school buildings remain closed to normal in-classroom instruction for the remainder of the 2019- 20 academic year, the TEA, in coordination with the governor's Strike Force to Open Texas, is providing four different pathways for schools to celebrate their graduating seniors: — Virtual ceremonies that take place entirely online with the use of videoconference or other ...

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