AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- In a wide-ranging interview on Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott spoke with ABC13's Tom Abrahams about the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's important as governor that I'm responsive to all of our residents, all of our citizens, in every single county," Abbott said. "So, I stay attuned by staying in touch with local officials across the entire state to make sure the approach that we're taking is appropriate for everybody in this state."
As of Monday, April 6, more than 7,200 Texans have tested positive, 1,153 are hospitalized and 140 have died. More than 85,300 Texans have been tested for the virus. In addition, 157 of Texas' 254 counties have at least one positive case.
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"The only states that have administered more tests than Texas are those with more dire consequences with regard to people in their states," Abbott explained. "All of the states that have tested more than Texas have more deaths. We have more than enough testing data in order to form the models that we need to make the assessments and determinations based upon science and data to understand the correct strategy for Texas."
In an executive order last month, Abbott closed all public schools through May 4. Some districts have told students and parents their campuses will be closed "until further notice."
Governor Abbott is ready to close schools for the remainder of the year and he remains hopeful.
"It's premature right now," he said. "Data constantly changes and the models are only as good as the data that is put into them. We will have a better assessment by the middle of April about where we are, and if at all possible, we would very much like to open up the schools to make sure our students are going to have the ability to complete a school year in an adequate fashion. "
Abbott also issued a warning to those not taking the self-quarantine orders seriously.
The more patient Texans are and the longer they stay at home, the safer everyone will be. Abbott knows his directives can't please everyone, but his goal is to keep Texans as healthy as possible in the midst of a pandemic.
"When there's panic about supplies or you're looking at models that may be factually wrong, it's important that, as governor, that I show what's in my heart," he said. "That is that I'm calm as we address these challenges, because I know everything is going to work out. I know that for an absolute 100 percent fact, a year from now, all of this is going to be gone because a year from now, there will be immunizations."
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Gov. Greg Abbott on handling pandemic: 'It's important I show what's in my heart'