The Trump administration is setting up coronavirus “surge” testing sites in areas of the United States that are experiencing an exponential increase in cases of the Chinese coronavirus, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The free testing sites will go up in three areas experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases — Edinburg, Texas; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Jacksonville, Florida. The testing sites will provide the cities with additional support and last “anywhere from five to 12 days.”
The three jurisdictions identified are seeing significant increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and could potentially benefit from additional opportunities to identify new cases, especially for people who are asymptomatic. HHS, in partnership with eTrueNorth and each of the local communities, will perform surge testing by offering 5,000 tests per-city per-day, at no charge to those tested. The temporary surge testing sites will be live anywhere from five to 12 days. Across the nation, the largest increases in COVID-19 positivity rates continue to be in the 18 to 29 age group; however, there are also upticks in young people under 18 and in people aged 30 to 39.
Testing at the surge locations is available to individuals five years and older – including those experiencing symptoms; those who believe they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 coronavirus; and anyone who is worried about possibly having the virus. Individuals seeking testing do not need to be a resident of the community where these testing sites are located. Individuals under 18 years old must have a parent or legal guardian present to consent to testing.
“The Trump Administration is doubling-down on support to areas hard hit by COVID-19. Standing up surge testing sites is one of many tools we are utilizing now to assist local leadership to reduce community spread,” said Assistant Secretary for Health ADM Brett P. Giroir, M.D., according to HHS.
“Data, including positive rates and demographic information, will inform how to shift state and local resources to reduce the occurrence of COVID-19,” Giroir added.
Four sites opened in Baton Rouge on Tuesday. Sites in Jacksonville and Edinburg are expected to begin on Wednesday, July 8.
The surge in cases across the U.S. has been largely attributed to the younger demographic. While the fatality rate tends to lag a few weeks behind the initial case increase, the nationwide spike began roughly three weeks ago, in mid-June. Currently, the death rate continues to dip, even as cases dramatically increase in states like Florida.
As Breitbart News reported:
As of Monday, the seven-day average of deaths in the United States continued to plunge, according to data maintained by the COVID-Tracking Project, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, USAFacts.org, Worldometer, and even the New York Times.
Last Sunday (July 5), the U.S. recorded a historically low single-day number of fatalities (over 200), below any other day since late March, data from the COVID-Tracking Project showed, echoing figures by Worldometer.
The low number of new deaths in recent weeks compared to the spike in cases suggests that more people are contracting coronavirus without succumbing to it, a development that is pushing the overall mortality rate — both the infection (true) and confirmed case (crude) figures — down.
The U.S. had 2,928,418 total cases as of Tuesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
The addition, the surge test sites follow weeks of critiques after Trump’s remarks on slowing coronavirus testing. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House coronavirus task force, told lawmakers that no such request was ever made.
“I know for sure that to my knowledge none of us have ever been told to slow down on testing,” he told lawmakers during a congressional hearing on coronavirus oversight. “That just is a fact. In fact, we will be doing more testing”:
Dr. Anthony Fauci: “If you look at how we’ve been hit; we’ve been hit badly.
Also: “None of us have ever been told to slow down on testing. That just is a fact. In fact, we will be doing more testing…not less.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 23, 2020