Hidalgo County left with one free COVID-19 testing option as cases rise

Local News

MISSION, Texas (KVEO)— Thursday’s free testing site was supposed to be located at the Mission Community center, but was canceled.

Hidalgo County reported over 700 positive COVID cases on Wednesday, yet free testing sites are sparse. 

County and city officials say community testing is in a transition period.

According to Mission Emergency Management Coordinator James Cardoza, community testing is only administered by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.  

“Them being the only free testing capability to fill-in the gap, has left a big burden in our communities,” said Cardoza. 

The Hidalgo County Health Authority says state-testing was being provided through the military, but is now handed over to another entity.  

“A private corporation—they’re in transition, so there’s been a cease and discontinuation for the last several of days—they’re soon to restart again,” said Dr. Ivan Melendez. 

Melendez says there is a 300% increase in positive COVID-19 cases because, more people are getting tested and since the state has required different types of tests.

“Antibodies and antigens, as well as PCR testing as official tests, before we were only using the gold standard—the PCR test,” said Melendez.  

While free, no-appointment testing is available on a first-come-first-serve basis in communities. UTRGV says they have free, appointment-ready COVID-19 testing and are well prepared.  

“We’ve gotten busier over the last several of days, almost doubled in volume—we are still able to manage it and can actually manage more volume,” said UT Health RGV Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Dobbs. 

You can visit the Hidalgo County website to find testing schedules and information on UTRGV campus COVID testing.

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