Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he has activated the Texas National Guard so members can be prepared to assist with Texas' COVID-19 response efforts.

Abbott stated that the move is meant to ensure that the Guard can quickly help in a number of ways across the state when called upon.

"By activating the Texas National Guard, we are ensuring Texas is prepared as we continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Abbott wrote in a release issued by his office. "I am grateful to the men and women of the National Guard for their dedication to serving their fellow Texans, and want to assure the public that this is a precautionary measure to make sure the Texas National Guard has the capability to serve at a moment's notice where they are needed most."

Healthcare workers and first responders who are members of the Texas National Guard are excluded from the activation so that they can continue serving the people of their local community.

At a news conference, Abbott said Texas has confirmed 64 cases of COVID-19 across 19 Texas counties, including Bell County. Health officials in Bell County recently announced two presumptive cases of COVID-19, but at last report were still awaiting confirmatory test results from the CDC.

Abbott announced Texas' first COVID-19 death - a man in his 90's from Matagorda County.

1,064 Texans, Abbott said, have been tested for COVID-19. That number is expected to rise, he said, as FEMA distributes 15,000 test kits. Abbott said testing will be conducted in part by FEMA, along with hospitals and public health authorities. Private companies like Walmart and CVS were expected to open drive-thru testing stations.

You can hear Abbott's full address in the video above.

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