Covid 19

Covid 19

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This page is being updated as new information becomes available.

The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of any respiratory virus, including COVID‑19:

  • Wash hands often for 20 seconds and encourage others to do the same.
  • If no soap and water are available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, knobs, and other places touched often.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Practice social distancing. This includes avoiding crowds and minimizing physical contact.

Antigen Testing

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), As part of the State’s Coronavirus Testing Strategy, is utilizing antigen testing in settings that need rapid, low-tech testing. The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) has been directed to ensure the effective distribution of antigen test kits (Abbott BinaxNOW and Access Bio CareStart) to further this effort.

K-12 Testing

As part of the Nation’s Coronavirus Testing Strategy, the United States Health and Human Services Department has distributed 150 million of the Abbott BinaxNow rapid test kits. The state of Texas has begun receiving its weekly allotment of these tests for utilization in settings that need rapid, low-tech testing. The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), in coordination with the Texas Education Agency (TEA), has been directed to ensure the effective distribution of these kits to Texas school systems to further this national effort.

Small Business COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program

In an effort to help support the continued operation of small businesses throughout the state of Texas, Governor Abbott has invited Chambers of Commerce to participate in a program which will provide BinaxNow rapid COVID-19 tests to small businesses in their communities. Small Businesses will be required to be trained on proper testing protocols, to include test administration and reporting of results as required by law.

Cue Molecular Testing

To assist in the surveillance and tracking of COVID-19 in County Jails throughout the State, the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) will distribute Cue COVID-19 test instruments at no cost to the counties. Agencies that participate in this program will be required to be trained on proper testing protocols, including test administration and reporting of results as required by law.

How to Apply

You can apply online for an SBA disaster assistance loan.

You must submit the completed loan application and a signed and dated IRS Form 4506-T giving permission for the IRS to provide SBA your tax return information.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center.  Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail

Additionally, the icons below link to a fact sheet and news release providing more information about the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan and application process.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans

At the request of Governor Greg Abbott, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued an Economic Injury Disaster Declaration on March 20, 2020 for all 254 Texas Counties in response to COVID-19 for the provision of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to businesses and private non-profits in affected communities.

If you have suffered substantial economic injury and are one of the following types of businesses, you may be eligible for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL):

  • Small Business
  • Small agricultural cooperative
  • Most private nonprofit organizations

Covid 19 Questions and Answers

Q. Can we provide free drive up screening centers for people who do not have a primary care doctor to get a recommendation for a test, if needed, without putting others at risk by having to enter an emergency room environment?

A. Yes, there are examples of these efforts being established for various purposes around the country. The City of San Antonio established a drive-up screening effort just today and others may be established in other communities. The efforts are best organized and executed by local entities coordinating together.


Q. Is there any opinion or consensus amongst state health officials on what the fatality rate may be for this virus?

A. Not at this time. Estimates range between 1-2 percent. It is possible it could be lower the more cases that are identified.


Q. Emails regarding the Corona Virus have been arriving at our offices and my one question is:  The data we have received is coming from the Texas Health and Human Services department.  Is this the latest information available that we could use in order to post on our City Website to help people stay informed and up to date on the latest developments with the Corona Virus?

A. Please see the DSHS website for the latest information.


Q. First Question Does the State of Texas have facilities working on a vaccination for the Corvid 19 and why have we not used the Ebola and HIV vaccination on our Texas citizens I have read that these two can help and slow the virus down

Second Question Governor Abbott said in the start of the conversation that he wanted to calm the nerves down I believe this will have to been done through the media for our State because the media always causes pandemonium and this is not good for our Greater State of Texas

A. We do not have visibility on vaccine research efforts at Texas facilities. There are a number of investigational treatments being explored including a drug that is used to treat Ebola. There is no approved vaccine for HIV in the United States.


Q. The Sheriff of our county has ask if there will be any advice or recommended actions for how we deal with the county jail.

A. The CDC does not have specific guidance on this topic, but here is useful information from Washington state.

Q. Today State health officials were advising schools to remain open at 4:00 while Education Commissioner was advising schools to close. We need to get on same page.

A. Decisions about school closures is a local decision and depends on the circumstances in that community. CDC is not recommending early closures of school. CDC offers guidance on school closures including situations to consider when thinking about school closures.

Q. After today’s state conference call with Governor Abbott I received a call from Judge Rick Lewis, County Judge in Montague County.  He had tried to ask a question during the call but was unable to get through and time ran out.  In his County there is an event taking place next week called Rednecks with Paychecks.  This event is not a City or County ran event but a private citizen puts this on twice a year.  The event draws approximately 5,000 people.  This is a 4WD, automotive mudding rally.  The County issued a permit to conduct the event to the citizen over 14 days ago but due to the events of the COVID-19 he has concerns about the legality of whether he can call the event off without suffering legal ramifications back to the County.  The County Lawyers and other Judges have visited about this and don’t see anything in the health and safety code nor in the permitting process that clearly states that they can rescind the permit and cancel the event.  His email below explains more.  Any information or that you can provide back to Judge Lewis would be greatly appreciated.  A timely answer would be helpful as the event starts next Thursday and we are on the eve of a weekend.

As of last conversation with the Judge over the phone they were not planning on cancelling this event.  I do believe an emergency Commissioners Court meeting has been called for tomorrow morning according to Montague County OEM.

A. We understand that local communities are concerned about large gatherings that may spread COVID-19 and may wish to limit those gatherings.  While DSHS cannot provide specific legal advice to local government, we suggest you review the authority provided to local governments to control the movement of people in Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code.


Q. What risk do our wastewater/ sanitation workers have? Is there any research on this?

A. The CDC has guidance regarding this topic:



  1. A testing center to be opened in the Corpus Christi area – where and when is that to be opened and who can we can we contact directly to keep up to date on that facility?
  2. FAQ’s – it was mentioned that the State would be posting Frequently Asked Questions on a website – has that been accomplished? And is so, where, so we can link on our city website?

A. There is a public health lab in Corpus Christi. As of March 13, this lab is not able to perform COVID-19 testing. The best way to keep up-to-date with the most recent information including public health labs that are testing is to monitor the DSHS coronavirus website at:

Governor Abbott Declares State of Disaster In Texas Due To COVID-19


WHEREAS, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been recognized globally as a contagious respiratory virus; and

WHEREAS, as of March 13, 2020, there are more than 30 confirmed cases of COVID-l 9 located in multiple Texas counties; and

WHEREAS, there are more than 50 Texans with pending tests for COVID-19 in Texas; and

WHEREAS, some schools, universities, and other governmental entities are beginning to alter their schedules, and some venues are beginning to temporarily close, as precautionary responses to the increasing presence of COVID- 19 in Texas; and

WHEREAS, costs incurred to prepare for and respond to COVID-19 are beginning to mount at the state and local levels; and

WHEREAS, the State of Texas has already taken numerous steps to prepare for COVID 19, such as increasing laboratory testing capacity, coordinating preparedness efforts across state agencies, and working with local partners to promote appropriate mitigation efforts; and

WHEREAS, it is critical to take additional steps to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and welfare of Texans; and

WHEREAS, declaring a state of disaster will facilitate and expedite the use and deployment of resources to enhance preparedness and response.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GREG ABBOTT, Governor of the State of Texas, do hereby certify that COVID- 19 poses an imminent threat of disaster. In accordance with the authority vested in me by Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, I hereby declare a state of disaster for all counties in Texas.

Pursuant to Section 418.017 of the code, I authorize the use of all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with this disaster.

Pursuant to Section 418.0 16 of the code, any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business or any order or rule of a state agency that would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with this disaster shall be suspended upon written approval of the Office of the Governor. However, to the extent that the enforcement of any state statute or administrative rule regarding contracting or procurement would impede any state agency’s emergency response that is necessary to cope with this declared disaster, I hereby suspend such statutes and rules for the duration of this declared disaster for that limited purpose.

In accordance with the statutory requirements, copies of this proclamation shall be filed with the applicable authorities.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 13th day of March, 2020.

Governor Greg Abbott

Public Assistance Information for DR-4485-TX COVID-19

Major Disaster Declaration

On March 25, 2020, the President of the United States declared that an emergency exists statewide as a result of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) beginning on January 20, 2020 and continuing.  FEMA will provide assistance to Texas through a Major Disaster Declaration pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act).

In accordance with the Stafford Act, eligible emergency protective measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 emergency at the direction or guidance of public health officials’ may be reimbursed under Category B of FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program.

FEMA will not duplicate assistance provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or other federal agencies.  This includes necessary emergency protective measures for activities taken in response to the COVID-19 incident.  FEMA assistance will be provided at the 75 percent Federal cost share.

State, territorial, tribal, and local government entities and certain private non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for Public Assistance through the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM).  This process will be further defined and communicated by TDEM as information becomes available from FEMA.

Emergency Protective Measures (Category B)

The following is a list of emergency protective measures and costs that are eligible specific to the COVID-19 response.  These actions save lives or protect public health or safety.  This list is not all-inclusive.

The icons below links to a fact sheet and the FEMA Public Assistance and Policy Guide, which will provide key information to consider concerning Category B of the Public Assistance project.

  • Transporting and pre-positioning equipment
  • Emergency Operation Center related costs
  • Emergency access
  • Supplies and commodities
  • Medical care and transport
  • Evacuation and sheltering
  • Child care
  • Lease of temporary generators for essential service facilities
  • Safety inspections
  • Temporary public health facilities
  • Animal carcass removal
  • Demolition of structures
  • Security
  • Use or lease of temporary facilities
  • Dissemination of public health or emergency information
  • Locating human remains and mass mortuary service

Procurement under Exigent or Emergency Circumstances

Resulting from the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency the Federal Government has established exigent and emergency circumstances currently exist.

For the duration of the emergency, local governments, nonprofits, and other non-state entities may proceed with new and existing noncompetitively procured contracts in order to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threats created by emergency situations for the following:

  1. Emergency protective measures under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program and
  2. Use of FEMA non-disaster grant funds by non-state recipients and sub-recipients to respond to or address COVID-19

Recognizing that FEMA’s recipients and subrecipients may face exigencies or emergencies when carrying out a FEMA award related directly to COVID-19, the icon below links to a fact sheet which provides key information to consider when utilizing contracted resources under exigent or emergency circumstances.

Non-Congregate Sheltering

Subsequent to President Trump’s Nationwide Emergency Declaration, On March 18, 2020, FEMA’s Assistant Administrator for Recovery delegated authority to FEMA Regional Administrators to approve non-congregate sheltering for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, as well as any subsequent major disaster declarations for the incident.

Criteria for approval of non-congregate sheltering, along with necessary support services to meet the needs of the public health emergency, have been amended to include the following:

  1. The non-congregate sheltering must be at the direction of and documented through an official order signed by a state, local, tribal, or territorial public health official.
  2. Any approval is limited to that which is reasonable and necessary to address the public health needs of the event and should not extend beyond the duration of the Public Health Emergency.
  3. Applicants must follow FEMA’s Procurement under Exigent or Emergency Circumstances guidance and include a termination for convenience clause in their contracts.
  4. Prior to approval, the applicant must provide an analysis of the implementation options that were considered and a justification for the option selected.
  5. The funding for non-congregate sheltering to meet the needs of the Public Health Emergency cannot be duplicated by another federal agency, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  6. Applicable Environmental and Historic Preservation laws, regulations, and executive orders apply and must be adhered to as a condition of assistance.

Applicant Briefing and Request for Public Assistance

On March 25, the President issued a statewide major disaster declaration for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  The FEMA designation for this is DR-4485. This opens up funding through FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program for reimbursement for emergency protective measures.  You will need to take the following steps to start this process:

  1. Participate in a virtual applicant briefing which will provide vital information on this process.
    • Applicant briefings will begin Wednesday, March 25, 2020, and will occur every Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. until further notice.
    • Meeting invitations will be sent out by TDEM staff in your area.

2)   Submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) – You can complete this step prior to participating in the applicant briefing.

    • If you DO have an existing account (from a previous disaster) in the FEMA Grants Portal (, please login and you will be asked if you want to submit an RPA for DR-4485.
    • If you DO NOT have an account in the FEMA Grants Portal, please send an email to to request an account. You will need to provide the primary contact name, name of jurisdiction/potential applicant, phone number and email address. You will then receive an automated email invitation from the FEMA Grants Portal and after the account creation is completed, you will be asked if you would like to submit an RPA for COVID-19 (DR-4485).

The icons below link to resources that provide more information about FEMA’s Public Assistance application process for applicants requesting reimbursement related to CODID-19. Please submit any questions to your TDEM District Coordinator or the following email address:

Please contact for a copy of the DR-4485-TX FEMA Public Assistance Briefing