Gov. Greg Abbott moves to bolster number of practicing nurses

Medical staff from Riverside University Health collect nasal samples from members of the public that were referred for testing for the coronavirus at a drive-up site in Indian Wells, California on Wednesday. Photo credit: Taya Gray/The Desert Sun via REUTERS

Last Updated on March 21, 2020 – 2:22 PM CDT

By The Texas Tribune – March 21, 2020

Saturday’s biggest developments:

  • Gov. Abbott waives some nursing license regulations
  • Number of Texas cases increase 53% to 325

More than 300 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Texas

[1:45 p.m.] In Texas, at least 325 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and five people have died, according to the latest numbers provided Thursday by the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is 53% more than the number of cases reported Friday.

The most affected county is Dallas, with 29 cases, followed by Harris, with 25. Travis and Bexar counties follow with 22 each. The statewide numbers for specific counties are lagging local media reports and may differ from what local officials have disclosed. Generally, counties are reporting how many patients test positive there. The state classifies people with positives tests by the county they live in, regardless of where they got tested or are being treated.

The state reported 83 cases where investigators are still determining the county of residence. At least 6,522 tests have been administered, a 414% increase over Tuesday’s testing total of 1,268 when the state first released testing numbers. — Carla Astudillo

Hoping to increase the number of practicing nurses, Gov. Abbott waives some licensing rules

[1:04 p.m.] Gov. Greg Abbott announced Saturday he would waive certain regulations to allow nursing students and retired nurses to easily join the workforce, as the need for medical professionals grows during the novel coronavirus crisis.

He said the state would allow graduate nurses and vocational nurses who haven’t yet taken the licensing exam to receive temporary permit extensions allowing them to practice. Students in their final year of nursing school can more easily meet clinical requirements. And nurses with inactive licenses and retired nurses can reactive their licenses.

“Nurses are essential to our ability to test for this virus, provide care for COVID-19 patients, and to continue providing other essential health care services. Suspending these regulations will allow us to bring additional skilled nurses into the workforce to assist with our efforts and enhance our COVID-19 response,” he said in the release. — Aliyya Swaby

“Coronavirus updates in Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott moves to bolster number of practicing nurses” was first published at by The Texas Tribune. The Texas Tribune is proud to celebrate 10 years of exceptional journalism for an exceptional state.