LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - We spoke with Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday, asking how Lubbock compares to other Texas cities in our response to COVID-19.
Gov. Abbott said, "I did see the increase in the Lubbock area about a month ago and was concerned about it for a short period of time. Then we were able to see the way, in Lubbock, they were able to contain the problems that you face and a reduction in the number of people testing positive."
The governor noted that Lubbock, like other parts of the state, had an issue with COVID-19 cases in nursing homes.
"Once that issue was corralled, it led to a decrease in people testing positive, similar to what we saw in Amarillo," Abbott said. "They had meat-packing plants, they had nursing homes, as well as a jail situation that to an increase in people testing positive. We surged tests and supplies to the region, corralled that situation. They went from a very high number of people testing positive, all the way down to zero, responding much the same way that Lubbock did."
Next, we asked Gov. Abbott about the economy, and the process of getting Texas back to work.
"It was just a few months ago that Texas was the leading state in the United States for the most jobs created, the leading state in the United States for fastest growing gross domestic product. We will be able to return to that status as we open up these jobs," Abbott said.
"So many of these jobs were shut down, not because of bad business, but because of the pandemic. That's why we are focused on, first, slowly the spread of the coronavirus, just like you have in Lubbock, and then going back in and reopening these business and getting people off of the unemployment benefit lines and getting them in the paycheck line where they can earn that paycheck to pay their bills and put food on their table."
Gov. Abbott said the CARES act will provide some relief to communities like Lubbock, but it does not address the loss of revenue to cities, counties and states. He said congress is looking at additional relief measures.
Gov. Abbott weighed in on the recent court decision against mail-in voting, saying he wanted to extend the early voting period for health and safety reasons, spreading out the crowds so there will be fewer people when you go vote.
The governor said they are working to establish guidelines for amusement parks and water parks as they attempt to reopen, studying the approach used by Disney and Six Flags.
"It's at the top of our agenda to work out safe strategies that would allow these amusement parks to be able to open as soon as possible," Abbott said.
The governor said they do anticipate flareups in other areas, particularly jails, nursing homes and meat-packing facilities.
Abbott is confident that surge response teams will be effective against any resurgence of COVID-19 in Texas, citing the success of measures taken in Amarillo to test, sanitize and contain the outbreak.