Trump administration grants funding extension for Texas testing sites

The Trump administration will grant five community-based coronavirus testing sites in Texas a 14-day extension of funding after rejection by federal and local officials.

“Federal public health officials have been in continuous contact with our Texas public health leaders, and after receiving yesterday’s extension request, they have agreed to extend support to five community-based testing sites in Texas,” Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of health for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said in a statement.

The administration has come under pressure from Republican senators and local Texas officials after announcing earlier this week its intention to stop funding 13 sites in various states and transition to state control.

HHS said it will assess the need for more federal support “as we get closer to the extension date.”

While the transition may have been planned, coronavirus cases are emerging in Texas; Hospitals are near capacity, and Governor Greg Abbott (R) closed all state bars on Friday and imposed restrictions on outdoor gatherings.

Texas has reported more than 5,400 new cases of coronavirus in each of the past three days, setting successively higher one-day records.

On Thursday, Texas GOP Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump Administration Grants Funding for Texas Hillicon Valley Test Sites: Democrats Submit Bill Prohibiting Federal Government Use of Face Recognition Technology | House legislators implement legislation to establish national cyber director | Senior federal IT official to resign Republican lawmakers join billed social media app as alternative to Big Tech MORE and John CornynThe John CornynTrump Administration awards funding for Texas testing sites. Gridlock looks at the possibilities of a police reform deal. The Right Way to End Qualified Immunity MORE He sent a letter to HHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) protesting the administration’s plans.

“Now is not the time to end a program that works and successfully increases testing capacity, especially for underserved communities in the state. Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Texas, cities need additional time to prepare for the transition to state and local control of test sites, “lawmakers wrote.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) also urged the administration to reverse its decision, saying that keeping federal sites open will draw limited resources away from other sites that should also be open during the current surge.

In announcing the rollback, HHS said it will provide “additional resources to help the state of Texas prepare for the next transition to these five locations that will become fully state testing sites.”

Giroir The administration’s test czar COVID-19 defended the move on Wednesday, telling reporters that the sites were not being abandoned and that the amount of evidence will not decrease.