State denies Hill County’s request for free testing site

Editor: Shannon Cottongame

August 18, 2021

Hill County’s request for the return of a free COVID-19 testing center has been denied by the state amid the latest increase in cases.

Hill County Judge Justin Lewis said that the county was told it would be responsible for paying for the site, and that cost was approximately $200 per test. He added that the county continues to explore options. Private medical facilities continue to offer testing in the county.

The judge also said that the county is getting personal protective equipment from the state now in order to have some on hand before that is no longer provided.

Lewis said that he also requested ventilators for Hill Regional Hospital last week, explaining that the county is working to fill any gaps in supplies for local facilities to address the surge.

As of Saturday, August 14, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) was reporting an estimated 206 active COVID-19 cases in Hill County, along with three new fatalities, bringing that total to 114 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

DSHS was reporting an estimated 156 active cases in Bosque County as of Saturday, with a total of 39 fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic.

In Trauma Service Area M—which includes Hill, Bosque, Falls, McLennan and Limestone Counties—DSHS was reporting that there were 147 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Saturday, with no available ICU beds in the region.

Vaccination rates continue to climb slowly in the area. As of Saturday, just under 43 percent of Hill County residents over the age of 12 had received one dose of a vaccine, and almost 36 percent were fully vaccinated. In those age 65 and over, close to 70 percent are now partially vaccinated in the county, with about 62 percent receiving one dose.

Close to 47 percent of all Bosque County residents 12 and over have received one dose of a vaccine, with almost 40 percent fully vaccinated. Approximately 70 percent of Bosque County residents ages 65 and over were at least partially vaccinated as of the weekend, with 63 percent fully vaccinated.

Hospitalizations are increasing quicker than at any other point of the pandemic, and Governor Greg Abbott announced last week that DSHS has arranged for the deployment of more than 2,500 medical personnel to help hospitals care for the increasing number of COVID-19 patients across Texas.

This operation follows the governor’s directive that DSHS utilize staffing agencies to provide out-of-state medical personnel to Texas health care facilities to mitigate the surge of COVID-19 cases in Texas.

“The State of Texas is taking action to ensure that our hospitals are properly staffed and supported in the fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott.

“Texans can help bolster the state’s efforts to combat the virus by getting vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and it is our best defense against the virus.”

Texans can visit to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near them.

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