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Exclusive: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will visit the Valley on Tuesday to assess hurricane damage

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott plans to visit the Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Hanna.

"I'll be there tomorrow to both assess the damages as well as to work with local officials to make sure they have every resource they need to help their communities respond and rebuild in the aftermath of this disaster," Abbott said during an interview with Dina Herrera-Garza on Channel 5 News at Noon.

The state is working closely with local leaders to provide anything the Valley needs, Abbott said — from road barriers, which block off flooded streets, to food and medical supplies.

"We're doing everything we possibly can," Abbott said, adding that the state assisted with more than 160 rescues during the hurricane.

Abbott explained that an emergency disaster declaration approved by President Donald J. Trump would help the Valley.

For example, federal funds may be used to clean up storm debris, pay overtime for law enforcement officers and other first responders, and cover the cost of emergency shelters, Abbott said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will assist businesses and homeowners affected by the hurricane.

Abbott also addressed concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in the wake of the hurricane.

"Our biggest concern in the aftermath of this storm is actually the spread of COVID. The spread of COVID can be far more deadly than the damage caused by the storm," Abbott said. "And so we're very concerned about protecting the lives and health and safety of people in the Rio Grande Valley. And to help aid that, we are surging additional testing supplies, we are surging additional hospital and hospital personnel capacity to help address the medical needs of people in the Rio Grande Valley who may be facing challenges because of COVID-19."

Asked if he would make time to visit local hospitals and meet with doctors and nurses to hear their concerns, Abbott said "I sure hope to."

Abbott said help is on the way to the Valley for both disasters: the hurricane and the pandemic.

"It's coming," Abbott said. "Count on it."

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