Governor Abbott, TDEM, DSHS Request Federally-Supported COVID-19 Testing Sites, Medical Personnel, Increased Monoclonal Antibody Allocations
AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott announced today that the State of Texas, through the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), has requested resources for federally-supported testing locations and medical personnel and additional federal allocations of monoclonal antibodies.
“Detecting COVID-19 and preventing COVID-related hospitalizations are critical to our fight against this virus,” said Governor Abbott. “While the Biden administration has cut supplies of monoclonal antibody treatments and testing kits when they are needed most, the State of Texas is urging the federal government to step up in this fight and provide the resources necessary to help protect Texans. Testing sites, additional medical staff, and continued shipments of therapeutics from the federal government will help us continue to save lives and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
There’s a national shortage of monoclonal antibodies impacting the allocation for all states. According to the CDC, as of December 28, the 7-day average of daily new cases is 277,242. This is a 71% increase from the previous 7-day period and the highest daily average since the start of the pandemic. Texas has set an all-time record for highest positivity rate at 24.2%.
Texas has requested support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for testing sites in the following counties based on current COVID-19 metrics, including positivity rate and hospitalizations: Bexar, Cameron, Dallas, Harris, Hidalgo and Tarrant. This additional testing capability will aid in identifying people with COVID-19, including the Omicron variant, and help prevent and reduce further transmission.
DSHS also has requested additional allocations of sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody therapeutic that is proven to be effective in fighting the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and reducing hospitalizations. The agency also requested that the federal government continue to supply the State of Texas with Regeneron and bamlanivimab, monoclonal antibody treatments for other strains of COVID-19 that have also proven to help reduce hospitalizations across the state. DSHS has also requested three teams of medical personnel to provide additional support to hospitals in urban areas of the state that do not have DSHS-contracted staff.