AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – Gov. Greg Abbott announced a new executive order to help combat the coronavirus and to try and “flatten the curve.”

The order requires that those who travel back from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or the City of New Orleans. will be required to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days or their duration in Texas, whichever is shorter.

The areas listed have become “hot spots” for the virus and Abbott says that the steps are necessary to get out in front of COVID-19.

According to Abbott, there has been a rapid rise in the number of people tested. In the past seven days, nearly 16,000 residents have been tested. Nearly 1,500 people so far have tested positive.

Of those people that have tested positive, slightly more than 100 people have been hospitalized. The rest have been quarantined in their homes.

So far, less than 10 percent of Texas residents have tested positive. Throughout Texas, there have been 18 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus.

Abbott said he was thankful for residents in “quintessential Texas fashion” for stepping in to help others through the crisis.

In East Texas, there were 35 confirmed cases as of noon on Thursday. Shelby and Harrison Counties announced their first cases and Longview ISD put out a statement extending their campus closure until April 9 to cooperate with a county-wide shelter-in-pace order.

There has been one death from COVID-19 in the Piney Woods with Smith County making the announcement on Wednesday. It was a 91-year-old man whose name has yet to be released.

Smith County makes up roughly two-thirds of coronavirus cases in the area, but Judge Nathaniel Moran has said a shelter-in-place order would be used as a “last resort.”

He has urged people to maintain social distancing restrictions and avoid contact with others when possible.

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