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Sens. Cruz, Cornyn Urge HHS and FEMA to Continue Federal Support for Testing Sites in Texas

June 25, 2020

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) today sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar and Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Pete Gaynor urging them to continue the federal support for Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) sites in Texas as testing capacity remains a crucial component to defeating COVID-19, strengthening the economy, and safely getting Texans back to work.

In the letter, they wrote:

"Texas is currently experiencing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases. In the last two weeks, daily new cases, the overall positivity rate, and hospitalizations in Texas have all increased. Some of the state's largest cities-where these CBTS sites are located-are experiencing single-day records of new cases.

"Now is not the time to end a program that is working and successfully increasing testing capacity-especially for underserved communities in the state. Due to the recent rise of COVID-19 cases in Texas, cities need additional time to prepare for the transition to state and local control of the testing sites."

Sen. Cruz has been a leader in making testing more accessible and widely available. In April, he introduced the Right to Test Act and the Equal Access to Care Act. Sen. Cruz introduced three pieces of legislation focused on increasing access to healthcare and expediting the approval for vaccines and treatments already approved in other countries, and called on Secretary Azar to use significant powers of the Defense Production Act to immediately address the scarcity of life-saving medical equipment. These proposals are part of the four-part, all-hands-on-deck approach Sen. Cruz has outlined to reduce the spread of coronavirus and ensure Americans can safely return to work.

READ: Sen. Cruz in The Hill: A Blueprint for Our Economic Recovery

For COVID-19 information and additional resources, visit www.cruz.senate.gov/coronavirus/.

The full letter can be read here and below.

June 25, 2020

Secretary Alex Azar
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20201

The Honorable Pete T. Gaynor
Administrator
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street SW
Washington, DC 20024

Dear Secretary Azar and Administrator Gaynor:

Thank you for your efforts in establishing Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) in locations across the State of Texas. These testing sites have played an important role in supporting the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it works to reopen the economy. Maintaining the CBTS sties is critical to Texas' testing capacity. As the CBTS program is set to expire on June 30, I urge you to grant an extension of the program for the testing sites in Texas.

Texas is currently experiencing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases. In the last two weeks, daily new cases, the overall positivity rate, and hospitalizations in Texas have all increased. Some of the state's largest cities-where these CBTS sites are located-are experiencing single-day records of new cases.

Now is not the time to end a program that is working and successfully increasing testing capacity-especially for underserved communities in the state. Due to the recent rise of COVID-19 cases in Texas, cities need additional time to prepare for the transition to state and local control of the testing sites.

The administration has taken important steps to provide Texas with the support and resources it needs to combat this crisis. I respectfully request you to continue the CBTS sites in Texas as testing capacity remains a crucial component to reopening the economy and ultimately defeating this disease.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

/s/

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