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Testing to be expanded in underserved communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19

Posted June 9, 2020

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Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is coordinating with local officials, public health officials and emergency management offices in cities across the state to identify and rapidly expand COVID-19 testing in underserved and minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.

This mission is part of TDEM’s ongoing partnership with the Texas Military Department, the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force and the Texas Department of State Health Services to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and increase testing where needed.

TDEM is already working with local officials in several cities to identify and establish walk-up and drive-thru testing sites that will meet the needs of each community, and is working with other cities to bring more sites online in the coming days. TDEM is also working with local leaders to expand walk-up and drive-thru testing in urban areas where large-scale protests have taken place.

“As the State of Texas continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we are committed to ensuring every Texan has access to COVID-19 testing no matter where they live,” Abbott said. “We must address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on underserved and minority communities and ensure that anyone who needs a test can have one. As many Texans continue to gather for protests, the state is also taking steps to address potential surges in COVID-19 cases. We are ensuring that Texans can continue to safely exercise their First Amendment rights while putting protocols in place to identify and mitigate any spread of COVID-19.”

As these sites continue to be activated across the state, Texans can find the test collection location nearest them.

The Texas Military Department has 1,535 National Guardsmen supporting the state’s mission to expand testing. So far, these teams have conducted 116,394 specimen collections and have fielded more than 195,000 phone calls for test collection appointments with an average wait time of 55 seconds.

New site offers free rapid tests

Mercy Clinic is offering rapid COVID-19 testing, together with CVS Health, at its south Fort Worth clinic. Licensed providers from MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health, and CVS Pharmacy colleagues will staff the testing operation.

“The heart of the mission of Mercy Clinic is to provide compassionate medical care to those in need,” said Peggy Leitch, executive director of Mercy Clinic. “This partnership with CVS Health allows our organization to make a significant contribution during a time when our community is facing great need.”

No-cost testing at Mercy Clinic, 775 W. Bowie St., is open to the public by appointment. Patients must call 817-840-3501 to schedule a same-day time slot for testing. A personal vehicle is not required.

Results will be provided on the spot. To be eligible for testing, patients must meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in addition to age guidelines.

Mercy Clinic of Fort Worth is a community-based medical and dental clinic, caring for uninsured individuals since 2011. The service is staffed by volunteer medical providers, dentists and a large group of health care professionals and community volunteers. All services are provided free and funded by donations from individuals and foundations.

In addition to offering testing together with several community partners across the country, CVS Health is offering drive-thru testing at 1,000 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide. CVS Health has a goal of processing up to 1.5 million tests per month subject to availability of supplies and lab capacity.

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