Harlingen COVID-19 testing delayed start time raises concerns

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A COVID-19 testing site scheduled at the Harlingen Sports Complex raised concerns for many seeking to be tested after no one was seen on-site setting up or on time.

“My mom was on the phone calling the police department, calling the Harlingen city, trying to get in contact with someone to figure out, is the testing even going to happen because it’s already way past 8:30 at this point,” said Ryan Perez, a Harlingen resident.

He said he and his family arrived at 4:30 a.m. and were the first at the Harlingen Sports Complex, but as the start time approached, people lined up outside of their cars, and this raised concerns.

 “It was already past 8:30 a.m., everybody started getting out of their vehicles and getting into a group, which defeats the purpose of a COVID test because we don’t know who has the COVID or not and gathering in groups spreads it,” said Perez.

The testing staff arrived over an hour after the scheduled start time, at about 9:45 a.m., and staff asked everyone to wait in their vehicles for their testing.

Nate Ruiz, a staff member of RGV Movile Covid Testing, said they were ensuring they had the supplies needed to conduct the tests, which caused a delay.

“We were just trying to acquire tests. We did know we were going to have a high volume of tests so, of course, we don’t want to have people and send them home. We would like to be here on time, but we had to come from FedEx in McAllen,” Ruiz explained.

RGV Mobile Covid Testing is contracted by G3 Innovative to conduct Covid-19 testing, according to Ruiz.

Ruiz said after today’s testing there are plans to improve the operation.

“We are going to get much more marketing out there, banners, and more direction. There will be signs and everything with more instruction so that way, it won’t be like today, our first day out here,” he said.

Josh Ramirez, the city of Harlingen’s Health Department Director, said the Harlingen Complex was leased to the testing company to administer the tests and the city simply promoted the testing in an effort to provide additional options for Harlingen residents.

 “Unfortunately, as you saw this morning, the testing company tells us that they were short in staffing and supplies so there was a delay in getting there,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez said the city of Harlingen supports testing sites and encourages testing for residents, but changes might be made to future testing sites.

“We understand the circumstances of the testing at this moment. There are depleted supplies, there’s a huge demand, we understand that concept, we understand that part, but at least communication needs to be improved and we are going to be evaluating whether we’re going to continue this next week or not.”

He said they will evaluate the site and company and may choose to go with a different company.

Ramirez explained they are also working with Cameron County and a local pharmacy for additional testing sites.

For more information on the City of Harlingen and testing updates, you can visit their website.

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