Hidalgo County to expand COVID-19 testing this week

Following state Governor Greg Abbott’s mandate that all nursing home staff and residents get tested for the COVID-19 virus, state officials will begin ramping up testing in rural areas of Hidalgo County beginning tomorrow Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said Tuesday.

The Texas National Guard, the Texas Military Department and the Texas Department of Health and Human Services are teaming up with emergency management officials in Hidalgo County to set up as many as 18 new drive-through testing sites in unincorporated areas of the county.

“Several factors are converging in Hidalgo County that will result in a greater number of people locally having the opportunity to be tested,” Cortez said in a news release. “This will give us a more accurate picture of how effective our mitigation efforts have been and allow us to make more informed decisions about relaxing controls in the county.”

Free drive-through testing will be provided in Hargill on Wednesday, then Monte Alto and Mission on Thursday, said Chief Ricardo Saldaña, head of Hidalgo County’s Emergency Management Division.

Though the testing is free, it won’t be available on-demand as those wishing to be tested must consult with health officials and make an appointment by going to www.txcovidtest.org or calling 512-883-2400.

The testing locations are: Hargill Elementary at 13394 4th St. (4th & Wilson) in Hargill  on Wednesday,  Monte Alto ISD at 25149 1st street in Monte Alto on Thursday and Dr. Javier Saenz Middle School at 39200 Mile 7 Road (Pueblo de Palmas) in Mission on Thursday.

People will be screened only if they have the following symptoms:

· Fever and/or chills, ore throat, cough, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, muscle or joint pain, nasal congestion, shortness of breath and loss of taste and smell, the release stated.

Chief Saldaña is still negotiating with state officials to secure more testing sites in Hidalgo County over the next few weeks, according to the release.

 

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