Officials in the US states. USA They have reacted with alarm to the Trump administration’s plan to end federal support for some Covid-19 test sites, warning that it could cause the further spread of a disease that is already emerging and calling the move “irresponsible.”
The White House confirmed Wednesday that it will no longer fund 13 test sites, including seven in Texas, despite the state reporting record levels in the number of coronavirus cases.
Funding and support for the sites will end this month, even as Covid-19 cases increase in the US. USA The sites are in Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Colorado.
Hospital admissions reached record levels in seven US states. USA On Tuesday, even in Texas, which reported a daily high of 5,489 new cases on Tuesday.
Four US congressmen from Texas urged the government to reconsider the removal of the test sites in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema).
The move would be “damaging and irresponsible,” they wrote in the letter.
“We need Fema’s support now more than ever as our communities and the state of Texas see unprecedented growth in coronavirus disease,” added members of Congress, including Sylvia Garcia, a Democrat whose district covers vast eastern part of Houston.
“At this time, we must expand the number of people who are tested per day to prevent further spread of the virus.
“We must continue to protect our vulnerable communities and the capacity of our health system.”
Four of the test sites that will lose funds are in Harris County, which includes Houston, where doctors have warned that hospitals are reaching full capacity. The four sites, the Houston Chronicle reported, administer thousands of tests a day.
Hospitalizations for coronavirus in Texas have increased 60% in the past week, which is one of the seven states that reported their highest admissions for coronavirus patients during the pandemic in recent days.
Most of those states (Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas) are in the south, where blockade measures were eased before many other states in the country. California has also reported record levels in the Covid-19 cases.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 2.3 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US. USA, According to Johns Hopkins University. More than 121,000 people have died.
Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, expressed alarm at the funding cut on Wednesday morning.
“Let me clarify this: Cases are increasing across the country,” Schumer wrote on Twitter.
“The administrator has $ 14 billion for testing and tracking that they haven’t spent. But does President Trump believe the right move is to withdraw federal support for testing outside of critical areas? ”
Brett Giroir, undersecretary of health, said the government was “transitioning” from test sites to “more efficient and effective test sites.”
Dissident voices against the cuts even include Ted Cruz, the Republican senator from Texas and a staunch ally of Trump. A Cruz spokesman told NBC News that the senator “has urged and will continue to urge [health officials] to extend community testing sites in Texas. “
A group of 20 Texas House and Senate members representing Harris County are also resisting the move.
On Wednesday, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced new restrictions on people traveling from states “with a significant community outreach for Covid.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said people traveling from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington will have to remain in quarantine for 14 days upon entering the state.