HometownBell County


COVID-19 test supply discrepancies within Central Texas

Posted at 5:58 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 18:58:07-04

Cities and Counties are taking a range of approaches to COVID testing and supplies, with some being more reliable and sustainable than others.

While a COVID testing site in Temple is closing down due to a lack of supplies ... McLennan County and Killeen seem to be doing okay for now.

In fact, McLennan County has expanded its testing capabilities.

”We originally started at 200 per day but recently expanded, due to demand, to 500 per day,” said Kelly Craine, Public Information Officer for the McLennan County Public Health District.

One of the reasons they were able to expand, to more than double the tests per day, is because they are not relying on state-supplied testing.

”We have a vendor that provides our COVID vaccinations and they supply everything, including staff and supplies and ensuring that the tests are sent out to be taken care of,” said Craine.

However, unlike McLennan County, Killeen is working with state-supplied testing that is paid for through the Cares Act.

But here’s the thing, Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra said, the state is reallocating supplies to hospitals and schools.

So, in the next couple of weeks, other options for testing kits need to be looked at.

”Right now, we’re still good," said Mayor Segarra. "We’ve got enough for this weekend and next weekend and as we get closer and closer, that’s a conversation that we’ll have and we’ll look for other companies.”

Testing and vaccine supplies aren’t the only issue that cities and counties are running into.

It’s also finding enough quality personnel to work the sites and that is something the state has been helping with in Killeen.

”They’ll help us with personnel," said Mayor Segarra. "So, if you drive through, you’ll see National Guard’s people in the medical field there helping us out.”

Both McLennan County and Killeen said keeping up with testing demand isn’t what worries them, it’s low vaccination rates.

Especially, in Bell County.

”We’re still in the 30th percentile," said Mayor Segarra. "I mean, that’s like one-third of the population has been vaccinated and two-thirds has not.”

There are a wide range of COVID testing options and only some of them are provided by cities and counties, so if their locations run out, there are other options like Urgent Cares and Pharmacies.