WATCH: Interview with Governor about pandemic

You can watch the full interview here
Posted at 7:34 PM, Jun 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 21:26:38-04

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he expects more than 5,000 people to test positive for COVID-19 Tuesday in en exclusive interview with KRIS 6 News.

"As you see cases of COVID-19 increase in Nueces county, we also see -- statewide -- there is going to be an all-time record set today in the number of people testing positive," he said. "Of over 5,000."

Abbott expressed concern for those not heeding warnings.

"There still remain people in Nueces county as well as in the entire region, who seem to think that COVID-19 is not a challenge," said the governor. "People need to realize that this is a swift spreading virus for which there is no vaccine. As a result, people do need to take this seriously."

He stressed the importance of vigilance to KRIS 6 News at Noon anchor Mike Gillaspia, and also discussed how state health officials are combating the recent surge in novel coronavirus cases; local officials' ability to control crowd sizes Fourth of July weekend; the recently-signed order requiring customers use face masks in local businesses; and parents' concern for their children's safety as schools re-open for the 2020-21 school year.

When asked about preventing a possible spike after the Fourth of July holiday, Abbott said he is reevaluating a recent executive order that would allow Texas authorities to control crowd capacities of over 500 people.

"There is an executive order already in place given (to) local authorities to put restrictions on crowds gathering over 500," Abbott said. "We did see an increase after Memorial Day. We saw an increase in the early part of June. We need to make sure we have the flexibility to reduce crowds in ways that will reduce the spread of COVID-19."

Abbott said he believes businesses realize that requiring masks is the only way to keep their businesses open.

"The primary way they are going to be able to keep their businesses open is by having people wear masks," he said. "They realize they would rather have customers in masks than having no customers at all."

Abbott also addressed how the upcoming school year would be similar to the end of the last school year in Texas.

"The health and safety of students must be first," said Abbott. "There must be a level of flexibility built into the school system. That flexibility will ensure distance learning from home, by students through strategies that have been perfected after what schools went through at the end of the last school year."