HHS Opening Four Additional COVID Testing Sites In Texas, After All That

DALLAS, March 22, 2020 . Medical workers work at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Dallas, Texas, the United States, March 21, 2020. The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 20,000 as of 1:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Saturday ,1730 GMT, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering ,CSSE, at Johns Hopkins University. (Photo by Dan Tian/Xinhua via Getty)
DALLAS, March 22, 2020 . Medical workers work at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Dallas, Texas, the United States, March 21, 2020. The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 20,000 as of 1:30 p... DALLAS, March 22, 2020 . Medical workers work at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Dallas, Texas, the United States, March 21, 2020. The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 20,000 as of 1:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Saturday ,1730 GMT, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering ,CSSE, at Johns Hopkins University. (Photo by Dan Tian/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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August 7, 2020 4:12 p.m.
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The Department of Health and Human Services will set up four COVID-19 testing sites in Texas, the agency announced on Friday in a joint statement with Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R).

The four sites will be in Harris County, where Houston and its suburbs are located. Two of the sites have already opened, and another two are scheduled to open on Monday.

The announcement of the “temporary COVID-19 surge testing sites” comes over a month after the Trump administration nearly let support for seven testing sites in Texas lapse.

After TPM reported on the move, HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir called the sites “antiquated” and said that local officials would take control of the sites.

Texas officials disagreed. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn sent a letter to the Trump administration demanding that the sites be kept open, while local officials made similar requests of the feds.

HHS reversed that decision amid complaints from local officials regarding the federal withdrawal. HHS has issued extensions for the sites every two weeks since.

Since then, Texas has seen thousands of deaths due to COVID-19, as cases continued to skyrocket until late last month. Meanwhile, the country has a whole has faced delays in getting test results, with the majority of tests submitted to commercial labs taking more than three days to turn around as of last week.

The new sites will each be able to process 1,250 tests per day. The release says that that will result in “a total of 60,000 tests across the four sites.”

Giroir announced the opening with Gov. Abbott , saying in a statement that “data including positive rates and demographic data will inform how to shift state and local resources to reduce the occurrence of COVID-19.”

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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