Health officials want more testing, more tracking
HARRIS COUNTY – Two new sites for testing of the COVID-19 virus opened last week and this week, as health officials said that more tests are required to combat a rise in the count of affected persons and those who have died.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has led the effort for the last two months to get more test sites, and she was present for the opening of these two sites, along with Dr. Joseph Varon, the president of UMMC, the United Memorial Medical Center, who has been providing the medical personnel and tests for these free sites.
While the medical profession is calling for more test sites, and warning that the virus pandemic is not contained or under control, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has expanded his order to open businesses to the public. On Tuesday, May 5th he added hair and nail salons, wedding venues, tanning salons, swimming pools, and on May 18 office buildings and gyms may open, with appropriate restrictions on distances. The order also allows non-essential manufacturing to open.
Abbott originally said that Phased openings would depend upon the rate of infections and deaths from the virus decreasing, but data from last week indicates that Harris County and the state of Texas had its highest number of deaths since the epidemic started. The governor did not comment on his decision to enlarge the opening of businesses, except to note that Texas has one of the lower per-capita death rates in the nation.
Last week Abbott had issued an order that restaurants, retail stores, malls, movie theaters, museums and libraries, and churches were allowed to open, but had to observe a 25% occupancy limit.
The press conference also proposed four methods for high schools to hold graduation ceremonies in lieu of traditional indoor assemblies.