The Texas Medical Association (TMA) said it supports Governor Greg Abbott's plan to reopen businesses, calling it a gradual, science based approach to reopen the Texas economy safely.
But, cautioned that more test kits are still needed.
The TMA believes, in the moment, there’s enough testing to gradually reopen the state’s economy, but the key phrase is gradually.
TMA still said we are at a significant shortage, and in the long run, if we don’t get testing numbers up, things might take a turn for the worse.
“So is there still a critical need for testing? There is still definitely a critical need for testing,” said Dr. John Carlo.
Dr. Carlo is a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force, and said there is still a need for more coronavirus testing across the state.
He said some national estimates are calling for 750,000 tests per week, which would put Texas as needing a bit more than 66,000 tests per week.
“We don’t even know how many cases are happening if we don’t have the capacity to make the tests,” he said.
The Texas Medical Association said it’s in favor of Friday’s announcement by Gov. Abbott, as it’s a gradual re-opening of the state’s economy.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said Friday night that if guidelines are followed, we will have and there will be enough tests to allow states to safely enter phase one for reopening the economy.
And Dr. Carlo, who was the medical director for Dallas County Health and Human Services during the Ebola crisis, cautions that social distancing has to continue.
And more testing has to continue or else, down the line, we could see a rapid return to this terribly contagious disease.
“It’s possible that we see nothing for a while and then the case rights creep right back up again,” Dr. Carlo added.
More than 95 percent of the COVID-19 testing done in Texas - 161,000 tests - has been through the private sector, mostly hospitals.
The rest, about 8,000 tests, have been done at public sites like the Dallas County ones at the American Airlines Center and the Ellis Davis Field House.
Still, to get tested, you have to meet certain criteria.
“We’re so limited in having that capacity. We do need those tests available for those who are showing signs and symptoms,” Dr. Carlo said.
He said says doctor’s offices are struggling the most to find tests, and while he’s not advocating the need for everyone to get tested.
He said that in some high-risk areas, like nursing homes, where cases have been confirmed, it would be beneficial to test even the ones not showing symptoms.