Texas National Guard offers mobile testing in 7 local counties in first week of operations

A Texas National Guard member swabs a patient driving through a mobile COVID-19 testing site set up at the weigh station along the northbound side of U.S. 59 in Goliad County. The Texas National Guard has set up collection sites in seven local counties in its first week of operations.

Residents in five local counties were able to get free COVID-19 tests this week through the Texas National Guard, which started operating drive-thru collection sites Tuesday.

Eventually, the Texas National Guard will have more than 20 units operating sites throughout the state. Drive-thru sites were assembled in Refugio, Calhoun, Lavaca, Goliad and Matagorda counties this week. There will be drive-thru sites in DeWitt and Wharton counties on Saturday.

In Calhoun County, 24 people were tested via the mobile collection site, said Erin Clevenger, the chief nursing officer at Port Lavaca’s Memorial Medical Center.

About 190 tests have been done between Memorial Medical Center and the Port Lavaca Clinic, plus the 24 tests from the drive thru site and an unknown number of tests provided at the Twin Fountains urgent care clinic, Clevenger said during a Facebook Live briefing Friday. Clevenger said the county’s testing numbers had increased but that they were “definitely not where we want it to be.”

“Until we can secure testing that we can complete in our own labs, we’re still going to be at the mercy of the receiving lab, because they do have that strict criteria that they follow,” she said.

Two additional cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Calhoun County Friday.

There are now 26 county residents who have tested positive for the disease. Of those, 17 people have recovered and two people have died, according to a news release from local officials.

Matagorda County

More than 1,200 tests have been performed in Matagorda County as of Thursday, according to County Judge Nate McDonald.

That number will increase thanks to the drive-thru testing site from the Texas National Guard, which set up operations in Bay City Friday.

McDonald said during a briefing that the high rate of testing contributed to the number of positive cases identified in Matagorda County. McDonald urged residents to continue following the orders in place at the county and state levels and said the numbers of new COVID-19 cases was decreasing.

“We’re either at or near, or maybe on the downhill side, of the peak but we’re not home yet,” McDonald said. “So please, please don’t let down your guard until you get further word from myself or the mayors.”

One new case of COVID-19 was reported in Matagorda County on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 59.

The new patient is a woman between the ages of 30 and 40, according to the Matagorda Regional Medical Center. The patient is isolating at home. It is unknown if the case is related to out-of-state travel.

Of the county’s 59 cases, 26 patients have recovered and three have died.

Wharton County

One new case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Wharton County on Friday, local officials said in a news release.

The patient is a man of an unknown age in the El Campo area, the release said.

As of Friday, there are 36 known county residents who have tested positive for the disease. Of those, 15 people have recovered.

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Ciara McCarthy covers public health for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can reach her at cmccarthy@vicad.com or at 580-6597 or on Twitter at @mccarthy_ciara. To support local journalism at the Advocate through Report for America, go to VictoriaAdvocate.com/report.

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Health Reporter

Ciara McCarthy covers public health and health care for the Advocate as a Report for America corps member. Questions, tips, or ideas? Please get in touch: cmccarthy@vicad.com or call 361-580-6597.

(2) comments

Brian Vandale

Why is it, Victoria has more cases than these other counties. But there's no stations set up here.

Grace Butler

Most likely a per capita issue. Victoria has more cases but also way more people in general.

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