Covid-19

Preventative Care

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.

Visit DSHS to Learn More

Visit 2-1-1 for additional information

Resources

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

NEW INFORMATION 12/07/21 – Disposal of Expired BinaxNow Test Kits and Reagent Bottles

All Expired BinaxNow Test Kits and Reagent Bottles may be disposed of as regular trash.

NEW INFORMATION 08/14/2021 – Extended Expiration of Antigen Test Kits

In addition to the extended expiration approval for BinaxNow antigen test kits listed below on 05/06/2021, CareStart antigen test kits also include a 12-month extension to their respective expiration dates. Each box of test kits has a printed expiration date on it. Each test kit, including all test cards, swabs, and reagent now have a TOTAL of 12 months expiration.

NEW INFORMATION 05/06/2021 – Extended Expiration of BinaxNow Test Kits

Each box of BinaxNow test kits has a printed expiration date on it.  This expiration date has been extended 6 months by Abbott Labs with FDA approval.  This extension expands upon the previous three month extension announced in March.  Each test kit, including all test cards, swabs, and reagent now have a TOTAL of 12 months expiration.  To verify the actual expiration date of your BinaxNow test kits, you may check the Lot number on the outside of each BinaxNow box (not on the individual test card) and compare it to the document below in the tab marked, “Expiration Date Extension.”  The TxRapidTest.org reporting system has the revised expiration dates and will not allow an expired kit to be scanned into the system.

BinaxNow Test Kits Stored Below 36 Degrees Fahrenheit

Of special note is new information from Abbott Labs which has indicated that any test kits which may have been exposed to temperatures below 36 degrees Fahrenheit may still be viable.  To verify this, once the kits have been thawed, conduct quality control on each box.  If the QC shows that the kits are functioning appropriately, the box may be used for testing.  If a box or boxes fails QC, please dispose of them and provide the number of kits disposed of to k-12logs@tdem.texas.gov.  Please ensure that all Test Administrators in your schools have been notified of this change to ensure that full quality control is conducted on any box that may have been stored below 36 degrees temperature.

Resources

COVID-19 Molecular Rapid Test Program

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.

This program will provide participating facilities with Cue COVID 19 test cartridges, readers, quality control swabs, product training, and will resupply Cue COVID-19 test equipment provided to the State of Texas by HHS while supplies are available.  These rapid tests are for the exclusive use and control of the participating facilities and can be used for intake purposes, testing of staff, testing prior to visitation or other uses.

This program’s key mandate is the required state and federal reporting when a test cartridge is used.  Participating organizations will be required to report Cue COVID-19 test results through their own Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) waiver reporting process or through TDEM’s CLIA waiver reporting process.  Organizations reporting through an existing process will need to send an email to that effect and provide their CLIA number. Using both processes simultaneously is unacceptable as it will lead to double reporting.

Participating agencies will identify staff members to be trained to administer the tests and report the results. All testing of employees must be voluntary and not a condition of employment. Agencies will also be responsible for establishing appropriate policies for addressing positive Covid-19 test results of employees and persons in their custody, including the notification of local health departments.

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.

As part of the Nation’s Coronavirus Testing Strategy, the United States Health and Human Services Department has allocated a total of 150 million Abbott Labs 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. These tools were specifically intended to support our critical infrastructure and surveillance screening in congregate settings, such as small businesses.  The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), has been directed to ensure the effective distribution of these kits to Chambers of Commerce in Texas to further this national effort.

TDEM will provide each of the participating Chambers of Commerce with BinaxNow test kits, facemasks, training, and support. Chambers of Commerce will identify one test coordinator as the point of contact with TDEM and will select the small businesses in their community which are interested in participating in the project.  Participating businesses will identify staff members to be trained to administer the tests and report the results as well as determining the manner that the voluntary testing will be conducted for their employees. All testing of employees must be voluntary and not a condition of employment. Businesses will also be responsible for establishing appropriate policies for addressing positive Covid-19 test results of their employees, including the notification of local health departments.

Resources

SBA Loan Info

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 disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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

FAQ

Disaster Declaration

Governor Abbott Extends COVID-19 Disaster Declaration For June 2021

TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME:

WHEREAS, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, issued a disaster proclamation on March 13, 2020, certifying under Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) poses an imminent threat of disaster for all counties in the State of Texas; and

WHEREAS, in each subsequent month effective through today, I have issued proclamations renewing the disaster declaration for all Texas counties; and

WHEREAS, I have issued executive orders and suspensions of Texas laws in response to COVID-19, aimed at protecting the health and safety of Texans and ensuring an effective response to this disaster; and
WHEREAS, a state of disaster continues to exist in all counties due to COVID-19;

NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority vested in me by Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, I do hereby renew the disaster proclamation for all counties in Texas.

Pursuant to Section 418.017, 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 418.016, 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 4th day of June, 2021.

GREG ABBOTT
Governor

ATTESTED BY:

JOE ESPARZA
Deputy Secretary of State

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.

  • 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

The links 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.

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 submita Request for Public Assistance (RPA).

  • If you DO have an existing account (from a previous disaster) in the FEMA Grants Portal (https://grantee.fema.gov/), 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 TDEMRecovery.RPA@tdem.texas.gov 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 COVID-19. Please submit any questions to your TDEM District Coordinator or the following email address: TDEMRecovery.RPA@tdem.texas.gov

Please contact TDEMRecovery.RPA@tdem.texas.gov for a copy of the DR-4485-TX FEMA PublicAssistance Briefing.

FEMA COVID-19 Funding

FEMA Public Assistance (PA) grant funding is still available to local governments and certain types of private non-profits so that communities can continue responding to the COVID-19 disaster. ACT NOW! FEMA will pay 100 percent federal funding for the costs of response activities that have been determined eligible by FEMA until September 30, 2021.

This means that all work eligible under FEMA’s existing COVID-19 policies, like administering vaccines, COVID-19 testing, increasing medical capacity, the provision of personal protective equipment, non-congregate sheltering, and emergency feeding and food distribution will be reimbursed at 100 percent federal share. Important policies about these costs are attached to this email.

FEMA is utilizing the FEMA Grants Portal system to process streamline project applications, where applicants can submit PA project request and supporting documentation like payroll, timesheets, contracts and invoices.

Please reach out to your TDEM District Coordinator or TDEM Recovery Coordinator if you have any questions about FEMA project applications for COVID-19. TDEM staff is available to assist in processing your projects.

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (CLFRF) provides emergency funding for eligible local governments. The U.S. Treasury manages the distribution of these funds to Texas counties and cities with populations above 50,000. Cities, villages, towns, and townships serving populations of less than 50,000 are classified as non-entitlement units of local government (NEUs) and will receive funding distributed by TDEM.

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Funding Opportunity (DR-4485)

Governor Abbott and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) announce the open application period for the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) related to FEMA-DR-4485 (COVID-19 Pandemic). The application period will be open from December 10, 2021 through April 29, 2022.

All entities seeking funding under this opportunity must have a FEMA approved Hazard Mitigation Plan at the time the project is submitted to FEMA for consideration and at the time an award is made except for projects to develop or update mitigation plans. An exception to this requirement may be requested on a case-by-case basis in accordance with FEMA’s 2015 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance.

The full notice of Funding Opportunity can be found here.

All applications must be received by TDEM through the Grants Management System (GMS) no later than April 29, 2022 at 5:00 PM to be considered for funding.

Contact Information: https://bit.ly/3EObkaI