TEXAS, USA — The federal government is set to open COVID-19 testing sites in six Texas counties most impacted by case surges caused by the omicron variant, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
The news comes as a response to Gov. Greg Abbott and officials from the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) requesting help late last week in the form of federally-funded COVID-19 testing sites, medical staff and monoclonal antibodies.
Federal help was approved for the six counties Abbott requested assistance with: Bexar, Cameron, Dallas, Harris, Hidalgo and Tarrant counties. These specific counties were targeted based on local COVID-19 metrics. Details about the testing sites remain unclear at this time, such as exactly when and where they will open, how many tests they would provide each day and for how long.
Officials previously said that Texas infusion centers offering antibody treatments around the state had run out of their supplies and would not be able to offer it again until January. In addition to more monoclonal treatments to replenish supply, DSHS requested three teams of medical personnel to provide support to urban hospitals where the state does not have DSHS-contracted staff. At this time, it is not immediately clear if the newly-announced help from the federal government includes COVID-19 treatments and medical staff as requested.
When reached by KVUE on Wednesday, a TDEM spokesperson could only report that federal officials hosted a phone call with Texas officials on Tuesday to discuss approval and initial logistical steps for sponsoring testing sites in six Texas counties as requested by the governor, adding that more details will be released when they become available.
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