Federal Help For Coronavirus Testing, Mitigation On the Way

Dave Moore, Staff Writer

Additional federal help to combat the coronavirus outbreak is on its way. And recreational gatherings in Dallas County are limited to no more than 10 people in size, due to changes in Dallas County’s response to the pandemic.

Those are two takeaways from an online coronavirus town hall and briefing organized by U.S. Rep. Colin Allred on Wednesday, March 18.

Dallas County’s testing capacity for the coronavirus is about to expand by 5,000 tests per week in the next couple days, said Dr. Philip Huang, Director of the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services (DCHHS). Huang said two federal testing sites will be able to test up to 2,500 cases per week.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who was speaking at the meeting with Huang, announced that reduction in permitted recreational gathering to no more than 10 people. The previous limit was 100 people, according to coverage in The Dallas Morning News.

The additional coronavirus testing, which is being set up by the federal government, bolsters existing work going on at DCHHS, which has a testing capacity of 160 per day, and Parkland Hospital’s drive-up testing operations, Huang said.

Also at the online conference, Allred said that small businesses might have access to an additional $300 billion in small business loans to help mitigate the impacts from the pandemic, while the general public might see a $1 trillion stimulus package as well.

“I will say this – we will move very quickly,” Allred said. “That’s quite uncommon around here. We understand that time is ticking and every day is important. This is an enormous package we’re talking about. The numbers I’ve heard thrown around are $1 trillion. When you’re talking about that much money there’s going to be a lot of discussions and provisions put in place so it’s done responsibly.”