Trump administration ends support for 7 Texas testing sites as coronavirus cases increase

President TrumpDonald John Trump Bowman has a double-digit lead over Engel in New York. McGrath leads Booker in Kentucky with results expected next week New York Republican Chris Jacobs wins special election to replace Chris Collins MOREThe administration is ending its support for 13 coronavirus test sites across the country by the end of the month, including seven in Texas, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in various areas across the country.

Several Texas officials are asking the administration to extend support for the sites, and the Houston Health Department’s public health authority wrote that lack of support could cause “Cascading catastrophic consequences”. Officials are requesting that funds for these test sites be extended through August 30.

Four of the seven Texas sites at risk are located in Houston and Harris County, which according to public experts could become the area most affected by COVID-19 in the country.

Two of those sites can perform up to 500 tests per day, which authorities say are the backbone of the city’s testing efforts, The Houston Chronicle reported. Houston has 27 test sites, most of which perform between 100 and 250 tests per day.

The other three federally funded Texas sites are divided between Dallas, which has two, and El Paso, which has one.

Information note on talking points for the first time on Tuesday that the Trump administration was ending financial support for 13 sites in five states, including seven in Texas. Rocky Vaz, director of emergency management for the city of Dallas, told the news outlet that the city requested an extension of funds beyond June 30, but was denied.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency deployed community-based testing sites across the United States, which beyond Texas included two in Illinois, two in New Jersey, one in Colorado and one in Pennsylvania. The program was scheduled to end in early April, but was extended to last until the end of June.

Texas’ case count has increased since Memorial Day, with the state breaking records for its daily count of new cases on Mondays and Tuesdays, with 4,760 and 5,080 new cases respectively.

In total, the state has recorded at least 124,726 cases of COVID-19 and 2,246 deaths, according to data from The New York Times. Harris and Dallas counties have been the hardest hit with 24,421 cases and 17,744 cases respectively. Both have documented more than 300 deaths.

Admiral Ben Giroir, HHS assistant secretary, said in a statement that the federal government is not ending funding or support for the test sites. He said the government “on the contrary” has increased the number of sites to more than 600 in 48 states and Washington, DC through the federal combined payment program, in addition to more than 1,400 federally rated pharmacy and health center sites. .

“The only truthful, but still misleading, report in the media is that we are transitioning 13 sites from the now outdated original program to the more efficient and effective test sites described above,” he said.

“The 13 sites received an additional 30 days from the original transition date in May, and I personally spoke with the Governors of the 5 states involved, and / or their leadership representatives, who agreed that the time was right to exit the transition. 13 original sites and thousands of new testing options, “he added.

A HHS spokeswoman told Talking Points Memo that the testing program aimed to “develop and bring initial testing capabilities to socially vulnerable locations across the country” and states were supposed to “transition” to control testing. in late June.

A spokesperson for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told The Hill that the Community Based Testing Sites (CBTS) program is designed as a “high-impact, short-term initiative” and is “One of the many ways the federal government provides evidence supporting states.” The CBTS working group will work with states to see which sites should continue and which should change to “full state control,” according to the spokesperson.

The spokesperson also directed The Hill to press releases covering the “transition” from federal to state control test sites.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck schumerChuck Schumer Ocasio-Cortez defends himself against the challenger in the Republican House of Representatives primary MPs supporting the Israeli plan to annex areas in the West Bank. WHO reports record increase in global cases MORE (DN.Y.) spoke out against the news, saying Trump “believes the right move is to withdraw federal support for testing outside critical areas” despite the numbers of cases.

Rep. James Clyburn (D-Texas), chair of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, released a statement in response to the reports, saying the administration is “going in the opposite direction” on the tests compared to what they recommend. public health experts. .

“As coronavirus cases increase across the country, I don’t see how withdrawing federal support for test sites is consistent with any sensible strategy to combat this virus,” he said Tuesday.

On Monday, Clyburn requested documents on the administration’s test strategy from the vice president. Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump: ‘I’m not kidding’ about coronavirus testing The University of Michigan is pulling out to host the presidential debate Overnight Health Care: Trump refuses to say whether he slowed coronavirus testing | COVID-19 cases in the United States are increasing, marking an ugly contrast with Europe | Trump health officials will testify to the continuing dangers of the coronavirus pandemic MORE, HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield.

Other Texas officials are asking for an extension of funds, including the representative. Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaDemocrat Introduces Bill to Prevent Presidents from Hitting Hurricanes The Hill’s 12:30 Report: House Returns to DC for Coronavirus Relief Minority Groups Endorse Texas Afro-Latina for Congress MORE (D-Texas), who addressed a letter to FEMA and HHS on Tuesday, also signed by Texas Democratic representatives. Shelia Jackson Lee, Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. Green The Corona’s Virus Report: Miami Mayor Concerned About Suicide And Increased Domestic Violence; Governor Trump Debate Intensifies Energy Overnight: Iconic National Parks Shut Down Over Coronavirus Concerns | New EPA Order Limits Post-Pandemic Teleworking | Lawmakers ask for help for oil and gas workers Bipartisan lawmakers ask for help for oil and gas workers MORE and Lizzie Fletcher.

A Sen spokesperson Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz Business groups lobby for inclusion in small business loan program Republicans target Google in fight to remove legal shield Roberts sparks backlash from conservative senators with DACA ruling PLUS (R-Texas) told the Chronicle that the senator “has urged and will continue to urge HHS and FEMA to extend community testing sites in Texas. “

Updated at 10:45 am