Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that the federal government has granted his request to extend operations of Community Based Testing Cites across Texas.
The US Department of Health and Human Services told NBC 5 Friday afternoon they will extend support for 14 days for five community testing sites in Texas and that they will also provide additional resources to transition these five locations into fully state-run testing sites.
"Growth of COVID-19 cases is an extremely concerning public health issue. The Trump Administration fully supports the public health needs of all states including the State of Texas as they respond to the recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations," the HHS said. "We will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 diagnoses and assess the need for further federal support of these sites as we approach the extension date."
Testing for COVID-19 will continue at Community Based Testing Sites like at the American Airlines Center and Ellis Davis Field House. Testing at these sites began with 250 individuals per day but was expanded to 500 tests per day at each site. Now, testing at Ellis Davis Field House has increased to 1,000 tests per day.
According to Judge Clay Jenkins, the University of Dallas will replace the American Airlines Center testing site, and it will continue to administer 500 tests per day.
Federal assistance allows these Community Based Testing Sites to continue testing, as the federal government pays for the test kits and testing at offsite labs.
"The State of Texas remains unwavering in our efforts to secure access to testing in communities across the state," Abbott said. "These federally-supported testing sites are a vital component of this commitment. I thank our federal partners for extending these operations in Texas, and for their flexibility in allocating their resources to the communities of Dallas and Houston that are experiencing a high number of COVID-19 cases right now. By continuing to increase testing and remaining vigilant against outbreaks of COVID-19, we will mitigate the spread of this virus and keep our communities safe."
In May, the federal government extended funding for testing sites until June 30, but local leaders including Judge Clay Jenkins and Mayor Eric Johnson asked for another extension due to a second wave of the virus.