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Gov. Greg Abbott extends disaster declaration for all Texas counties as COVID-19 cases continue to spike

The disaster declaration, originally issued March 13, provides Texas counties with COVID-19 resources needed to slow the spread.

TEXAS, USA — Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation Friday, extending the disaster declaration for all Texas counties in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state of Texas. 

The disaster declaration, originally issued March 13, provides Texas counties with COVID-19 resources needed to slow the spread.

"Extending this Disaster Declaration helps ensure that Texas has the resources and flexibility needed to effectively respond to COVID-19," said Governor Abbott. "To further mitigate the spread of the virus and overcome this challenge, Texans should continue to do their part by wearing a mask, social distancing, and staying home if possible."

As of July 9, Texas has more than 230,000 positive COVID-19 cases and 2,918 fatalities. 

Abbott's mask order remains in effect, although he has given counties the opportunity to opt out if they have a low number of active coronavirus cases. More than 70 counties have opted out of the order and a handful of other local governments have insisted that they won't enforce the order even though they don't qualify for the opt-out provision. 

RELATED: Corpus Christi officials report coronavirus-related death of six-week-old infant

RELATED: Gov. Abbott: Lack of masks, spike in COVID-19 could lead to 'necessity of closing Texas down'

In a press release announcing the order, Abbott said that "wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19." 

Public health experts broadly agree that masks slow the spread of the virus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend face coverings for anyone 2 or older in public settings.

In an interview with CBS19 Abbott said a lack of masks and a spike in COVID-19 could, as a last resort, lead to "the necessity of closing Texas down."