County working with cities, hospitals to open test site

HARLINGEN — Cameron County officials are planning to open a drive-through test site that would move across area communities to test high-risk residents for the coronavirus.

Now, officials are working with Harlingen Medical Center to open a test site, Cameron County Health Administrator Esmeralda Guajardo said Wednesday.

Officials have not set a date for the test site’s opening, she said.

“The site will more than likely move around. We need to get creative and innovative and maximize the resources we have,” Guajardo said of the county’s efforts to test residents for the COVID-19 virus.

On Monday, officials worked with Valley Baptist Medical Center to open a drive-through test site at Marine Military Academy, where 39 residents were tested during a two-hour period, she said.

“It’s established to reach the highest risk. We are working specifically with high-risk individuals,” Guajardo said. “They have to meet criteria. The individuals we target are individuals with other health conditions, health care workers, first responders, residents with symptoms.”

Cities offering sites

So far, Harlingen, San Benito and Brownsville have offered to set aside property to set up the drive-through test site, she said.

“Other communities have also offered. Our plan is to find other hospitals,” she said. “If we’re able to provide the logistics of setting it up, the hospitals provide the resources in terms of staff and personal protective equipment and (the communities) provide the property, then we have the perfect mix.”

County officials are planning the drive-through test site “to maximize resources” as a result of the short supplies of test kits and personal protective equipment, Guajardo said.