Judge Hidalgo discusses plan aimed at speeding up coronavirus test results

HOUSTON – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo discussed a plan aimed at dealing with a surge in coronavirus testing and speeding up results from those tests.

Hidalgo said the county is partnering with the federal and state departments of Health and Human Services to transition the testing sites at both Ken Pridgeon Stadium and San Jacinto College Central Campus to surge testing sites beginning Thursday.

According to Hidalgo, Harris County (outside city limits) has seen the highest case count for a single day since the pandemic started with 700 new cases.

“The cases continue to go up. The deaths continue to go up,” Hidalgo said. “Hospitalizations have begun to come down very very slowly, but are still at an incredibly high level. Of course, we expect the high cases will lead to an additional increase in hospitalizations.”

Hidalgo said the good news is the county received 30,000 tests from the federal government that have been expedited so they have a turnaround time of around three to five days.

“The testing turn around times are key for everyone ... It’s important for us, as well, in the public health arena to be able to identify how many people are coming back positive. To be able to do a follow up with those folks and to do the contact tracing,” Hidalgo said. “If it takes us a week or two weeks to get the results, by then it’s almost pointless. You’ve already had many many contacts for that one person that has the virus.”

People can begin signing up for the surge tests starting Wednesday. You can go to Readyharris.org or call 832-927-7575 for more information.

The supply is expected to last a few weeks, but once the tests run out, Hidalgo said the county is set up to continue providing rapid results at the Pridgeon Stadium and San Jacinto College Central testing locations.

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