Nelson: Frontline workers play pivotal role in reopening

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Texas Senator Jane Nelson

by Texas Senator Jane Nelson, Flower Mound

Monday will be a pivotal moment in this pandemic as the Governor announces his plan to safely reopen the economy. This would not be possible without the sacrifices of our frontline workers.

To our health care workforce, the public safety community, our supply chain workers and everyone else who is showing up to work to help us through this crisis … THANK YOU! We couldn’t have made it this far without you.

We also owe a debt of gratitude to the Texas National Guard, which has deployed 2,500 Guardsmen to respond to the crisis in various capacities. This week the Guard began to launch 25 mobile testing units that will have the ability to conduct 150 tests a day across the state. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 225,000 Texans have been tested with 22,000 positives, 8,000 recoveries and 561 fatalities.

Testing will be a key component to the next phase of confronting COVID-19 as more businesses reopen and more Texans get back to work. Starting this past Friday, many businesses are reopening using the newly authorized “retail-to-go” order. And nearly half a million jobs are currently available across the state and posted at www.workintexas.com.

The Texas Workforce Commission has processed more than 1.6 million claims in the span of 34 days. To put that in perspective, that is roughly the equivalent of two typical years. My office has assisted constituents with their claims, and I am pleased to report that some of the early challenges have been mitigated with an additional 1,000 TWC employees hired — as well as the addition of a fourth call center this week. More than $1 billion in benefits have been paid out so far.

The Supply Chain Task Force continues its efforts to procure shipments of Personal Protective Equipment. So far Texas has received over 4.5 million masks, 175,000 face shields, 2.5 million gloves and 11,000 gowns.

Texas is acquiring the ability to decontaminate face masks for our frontline health workers. This will help better protect and supply our medical workforce.

If you know a frontline worker in our community who has gone above and beyond the call of duty, please share their story with me. We can’t give them hugs yet, but I would like to reach out personally and thank as many as I can for their efforts during this difficult time. All you need to do is email their name, mailing address, and a story of how they did something good to [email protected]

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