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Harris County Judge Announces Strike Team to Bring COVID-19 Testing to Senior Centers, High-risk Communities

County Order Requiring Face Coverings Takes Effect; Additional Pop-up Testing Sites Bring Daily Capacity to 1,600

Monday April 27, 2020

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo today announced the launch of a HarrisCounty COVID-19 Strike Team to identify high-risk congregate settings and bringtesting to them. Starting Tuesday, the team, composed of countyepidemiologists, public health experts, social workers, and testing staff, willconduct site assessments, provide recommendations or control orders whereneeded, and provide the ability to test large groups of residents and staff atlocations such as senior centers, nursing homes, and shelters.

“The goal isn’t just to save lives,but to also go on offense against this virus and quickly isolate it where weknow it has the potential to spread quickly,” Judge Hidalgo said. “The morewe’re able to do this, the better we’re able to choke off the virus, stop it inits tracks, and move forward.”

The effort is part of Harris County’sstrategy to use aggressive public health interventions to stem the spread ofCOVID-19. The Strike Team will start with one nursing home per day but willexpand in capacity in the coming days as additional capacity and staff areadded. 

Additionally, starting Thursday, thecounty will double its mobile testing sites from two to four, in addition tothe fixed testing sites in Katy and Baytown. Each mobile testing site has thecapacity to test 150 per day, with each fixed site capable of handling up to500. This brings the total daily testing capacity, not including testsconducted by the strike team, to 1,600 tests. People living anywhere in thecounty may choose the site that is most convenient for them.

“We know that the easier we make it forfolks to get tested, the more will be able and willing to do so,” Judge Hidalgosaid. “It’s our job to do what we can to make sure we’re touching every cornerof our community.”

Testing is available for anyoneregardless of citizenship status and is free. All individuals seeking a testshould complete an online screening tool at readyharris.org or call832-927-7575. If the individual cannot drive to a site, the county’s At-HomeTesting Team will call the individual and set up an appointment.

For more information on the face coveringrequirement or COVID-19 testing locations, visit readyharris.org. 

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