11 May 2020

Capitol Update: Coronavirus Mobile Testing

To all the moms reading this column, I want to wish each of you a happy Mother’s Day!  A wise man once stated, “Mother’s hold their children’s hands for a short while—but hold their hearts forever.” I hope on this day, and every day, you realize how much you are loved and appreciated.

At long last, and as a result of everyone’s diligent efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, the State of Texas is leading the way on reopening our nation’s economy. Since my last column, Governor Abbott has not only reopened certain businesses—like retail stores, restaurants and movie theaters—but has also extended those businesses to include pools, barbershops, salons, and other businesses ten days ahead of his initial timetable. While the reopening of these businesses is being done in a strategic manner to mitigate further spread of COVID-19, I am encouraged by the progress and pleased to see many of our small businesses beginning to reopen.

With that, here’s the latest information on our state’s fight against the coronavirus. . .

Coronavirus Update

As you may know, the Texas Military Department (TMD), in coordination with the Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM), and the Emergency Medical Task Force (EMTF), has deployed Mobile Testing Teams (MTTs) throughout our state in an effort to increase access to testing for COVID-19. While many of our local communities have taken advantage of these MTTs, I wanted to provide you with some of the data we have collected as a result of mobile testing. As of May 3, MTTs have collected over 10,000 testing specimens in 155 Texas counties. Combined, MTTs have assessed as many as 1500 people in a given day, with as many as 1300 meeting testing criteria and being tested in a given day. Currently, 1.6% of cases tested positive (162), with 30% of test results pending. While this is certainly compelling and promising data, our state agencies will continue to prioritize access to testing and work diligently to reduce the turnaround time on testing so that we can continue to move towards our goal of a fully re-opened economy. For up to date information on the number of cases, including a breakdown of each county, visit the COVID-19 dashboard at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.

Governor Abbott has indicated that the next wave of reopening’s will take place on May 18. While he has made clear that gyms and workout facilities may reopen with certain restrictions on May 18, I am hopeful that the Governor will expedite and expand the reopening to other businesses that have been affected by this pandemic. It’s so important to remember that an accelerated re-opening can only occur if we continue to practice social distancing and other healthy habits like thorough and frequent hand washing, cleaning regularly touched objects, and staying home when sick. I’m confident that if we collectively engage in these practices, our state will continue leading the charge in our fight against this invisible enemy.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our District office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.

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