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Texas governor discusses the upcoming flu season, schools reopening and ending his mask mandate – FOX 4 Dallas

Gov. Abbott answers questions about schools, masks and more

During a FOX 4 interview, Gov. Greg Abbott responded to criticism from Tarrant County leaders about a religious convention being held at the Fort Worth Convention Center. He also answered questions about reopening schools and talked about when his mask mandate might end.

DALLASGov. Greg Abbott will be in Dallas Thursday to discuss preparations for the upcoming flu.

The governor is scheduled to attend a roundtable event with state health leaders and other medical experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

He said the upcoming seasonal flu will pose a new challenge.

“We know that the flu season is coming up and if flu season this coming year were as severe as it was last year on top of the pandemic of COVID-19, that could pose substantial challenges for your hospitals, as well as for your PPE supplies, etc. And so the state of Texas is getting ready for the state and for local hospitals to be able to deal both with COVID-19 as well as the upcoming flu season,” Abbott said.

RELATED: Coronavirus continued coverage

The governor said this week the state has more than $1 billion worth of personal protective equipment ready to help combat both COVID-19 and the flu.

He also said the state has enough PPE supplies for school districts to keep students and teachers safe.

He is confident schools will be ready for the fall semester but said districts do need to be ready to move from in-person to online learning if there is a localized COVID-19 outbreak.

“School districts get to make their own decision and they get to take in the advice of local public health authorities as well as state and national health authorities. And then in addition to that, they can provide either an in-classroom setting, a remote learning setting or a combination of the two instilling the safest practice possible,” Abbott said.

The governor also believes the state’s mask mandate is working. He told FOX 4 that masks are cutting the number of people now in hospitals statewide.

He called them uncomfortable but said they are the best way to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Pretty soon, maybe as soon as September, there will be therapeutic drugs that people will be able to take who test positive for COVID-19 and then we keep seeing these news stories about the acceleration of vaccines potentially becoming available maybe as early as November. And when vaccines start becoming available, it will mean that we will be able to build up the sense of herd immunity,” Abbott said.

Abbott said the state’s mask mandate may be lifted before the end of the year if the numbers continue to improve and there are better treatments available for people with COVID-19.

RELATED: Interactive map of Texas COVID-19 cases

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