City considers expanding operating days for COVID-19 drive-thru testing

During a regular Brownsville City Commission meeting earlier this week, Brownsville Fire Department Chief Jarrett Sheldon, who is overseeing the emergency management operations, said there might be a need in the near future to have the drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Brownsville open six or seven days a week.

“The COVID-19 drive-thru testing site continues to operate Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. … We are currently considering extending the days of drive-thru testing, the days of operation, to six to seven days per week in the near future,” he said during the meeting.

“We are communicating with neighboring jurisdictions the number of questionnaires filled out by the constituents and emergency management continues to work in constant communication with local, county and state partners and agencies to bring the latest information and updates.”

Lupe Granado III, finance director for the City of Brownsville, did a presentation on the budget for the impact of COVID-19. Granado said the budget impact for the fiscal year 2020 is $871,628 and the emergency procurement is $102,047, making a total of $973,675.

Granado said the city will be seeking reimbursement from FEMA and the eligible reimbursement is 75 percent, which totals $730,256.

The costs are as follow:

>>$14,674 use of equipment FEMA approved equipment (city equipment).

>>$3,795 other miscellaneous costs such as COVID-19 conference, fees, software and ink for printers.

>>$10,272 for contract costs such as third party janitorial services for airport and B-Metro.

>>$1,253 lease costs such as cellphones and MIFIs.

>>$53,818 in supplies such as sanitation supplies, N95 masks, thermometers, gloves, gowns and safety glasses.

<< $787,816 in personnel.

As submitted by city departments on FEMA forms, the Police and Fire Department make up a significant portion of the personnel cost attributed to COVID-19 with $493,351 for the Police Department and $164,562 for the Fire Department.

The city will also pay for the testing kits of patients who are uninsured, each testing kit is valued at $110. During the presentation Granado said there has been 273 patients who are uninsured, making a total of $30,030.