APH surpasses COVID-19 testing goals for May-July, encourages asymptomatic people to get tested

Coronavirus

A Baylor Scott & White drive through COVID-19 test site in Austin. (KXAN Photo/ Kaitlyn Karmout).

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Public Health announced Thursday they surpassed its COVID-19 testing goals for May-July in Austin-Travis County.

The agency counted tests they’ve given, plus tests by hospitals, state partners, public and private clinics and physicians, and hit goals every month in the three-month timespan.

May’s goal was 10,000 tests, and APH said they blew the goal away as 39,609 tests were performed in the area. June’s tally of 50,910 tests surpassed the month’s goal of 40,000 and 69,243 tests done in July were well above the 60,000 tests goal, health officials said.

The goal for the rest of the year is to administer 60,000 tests per month.

“Our response to COVID-19 has been a community effort,” APH Director Stephanie Hayden said. “Not only has it been a community effort in ensuring we slow the spread by practicing proper preventative actions, but also in expanding testing with the help of our local hospitals, clinics, and physicians. Adequate testing capacity is another factor in helping us identify those with COVID-19 and stop the viral transmission,” Hayden said.

APH testing sites alone administered 7,984 tests in May, 11,315 in June and 20,538 in July.

Through the public testing enrollment form, APH has the capacity to test 6,500 people per week, and that’s including the sites in Williamson and Bastrop counties, APH says.

“We must continue to work together as a community,” APH Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said. “While we have expanded testing, we must continue to prioritize those with symptoms, exposures, and in vulnerable populations. Make sure you continue to stay home when possible, wear a face covering and social distance in public, and practice good hygiene.”

APH encourages people who can use insurance to cover their testing costs to go to other testing sites, as APH wants to be “a safety net” for those without insurance or primary care providers.

Demand for testing in August is way down, APH says, and they are encouraging everyone to get tested even if they are asymptomatic.

“We want to remind people that particularly if they’ve been out working, they’ve been in a role where they’re interacting with lots of people, even if they don’t have symptoms right now, now’s the time to get tested so that we can push that positivity rate down,” Escott told the Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday.

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