From in-home testing to fever-detecting technology, the city of Dallas has big decisions to make when it comes to tackling the coronavirus.
The city council will convene for their meeting on Wednesday at 9 a.m. to discuss several measures of spending totaling nearly $5 million.
Click here to view the agenda.
For one, the city council is considering an emergency agreement that would provide more in-home testing for high-risk areas of the city.
They will be discussing a plan to provide mobile testing at an estimated cost of $660,000. That money would come from the federal coronavirus relief funds.
If the council approves this, the city could offer up to 60 tests per day to targeted ZIP codes and hot spots with high numbers of coronavirus cases, such as senior living facilities. Mayor Eric Johnson says the goal is to help people feel comfortable in their own communities again.
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“The thing that will get people to that level of comfort and will actually bring this economy back is the knowledge that only testing can give you about where the disease is in your community,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday. “I'm not interested in finger-pointing or playing the blame game with testing availability. We are where we are and we know we aren’t where we need to be.”
Also on the agenda:
Council will consider spending $1.8 million from the general fund for cleaning and decontaminating city facilities, vehicles, and other properties related to COVID-19.
Two items involve support for the homeless community using money from the general fund. Council is looking at a $620,560 agreement with Wyndham hotel in North Dallas to house the homeless since city shelters have scaled back on capacity due to social distancing restrictions. Council clarified this is not related to homeless people diagnosed with the coronavirus but it's to help prevent the spread of the virus because there is nowhere for these individuals to quarantine.
The other item involved support for the homeless to run a temporary shelter at the Kay Bailey Hutchison convention center through May 31 at a cost of $78,124.
Another item looks at using federal coronavirus relief money to make a possible upgrade to the city's computer network in an effort to handle the massive increase in web traffic the city is expecting from the rental and mortgage assistance and small business fund programs.
Council is also looking at spending $884,500 federal relief money on thermometer kiosks, which are hands-free, self-service stations to take your temperature at city facilities.
Meantime, Mayor Johnson has also named a former physician turned investment advisor as the city's first Health and Health Care Access Czar to address the lack of COVID-19 testing.
Dr. Kelvin Baggett, a one-time internist who is now an advisor for Dallas-based physician-founded private equity firm Pharos Capital, was announced during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Johnson has tasked Baggett with a number of jobs, primarily how to make sure the citizens of Dallas have access to testing and contact tracing.
"This is an all hands on deck situation and it has been from the start. this pandemic affects everyone, not equally of course, but no one is immune to effects of this insidious virus on public health and our society,” he said.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.