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Trump administration to end federal funding for virus testing sites in El Paso, across Texas

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Getty Images via CNN
Healthcare workers hold coronavirus testing supplies.

EL PASO, Texas -- As coronavirus cases surge across Texas, setting daily records for new infections and hospitalizations, ABC News confirmed Wednesday that the Trump administration plans to pull funding for community testing efforts in El Paso, Houston and Dallas.

In all, El Paso is among 13 community testing sites across five states in hard-hit parts of the country that will lose funding come the end of this month.

"Our testing will not slow down if the federal government decides to withdraw funding," said City of El Paso spokeswoman Laura Cruz, who indicated that the city was prepared to continue operating the site.

There was no immediate reaction from Gov. Greg Abbott about word of the funding loss, but El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar took to twitter with her displeasure.

"El Paso is facing an unprecedented crisis that has taken 122 lives and devastated thousands of others. Yet (President) Donald Trump is pulling support from a desperately needed testing site in our community," she wrote.

She wasn't the only member of the Texas Congressional delegation to react with concern, the state's two U.S. senators also weighed in. 

Sen. Ted Cruz said he would "urge HHS (Health and Human Services) and FEMA to extend the community testing sites in Texas.”

Sen. John Cornyn said he too believes "that they need to extend that federal support in Texas, at least until we get this most recent uptick in cases addressed.”

He added, "It’s pretty clear to me, and I think it’s clear to all of us, that with the uptick of cases, now is not a time to retreat from our vigilance in testing.”

The decision to pull funding comes as President Trump has expressed displeasure with the increased rate of testing nationwide because, he says, it causes case numbers to rise and make the U.S. health crisis look bad. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday predicted as many as 150,000 American deaths related to the virus by July 18.

Daily case numbers in Texas, in particular, have been soaring with 5,5551 new Covid-19 cases reported on Wednesday.

Trump administration officials indicated they had long planned to end direct federal involvement in running the testing sites, but state and local governments were encouraged to continue those efforts on their own.

Adm. Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary of Health tasked by Trump to coordinate the nation’s testing efforts, told ABC News that the federal government is still planning to support testing efforts in Texas and elsewhere, including providing states swabs, reagents and other supplies.

In testimony on Capitol Hill this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said rising case numbers in certain states, including Texas, were "disturbing" and that more needed to be done to expand testing.

"Right now, the next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges that we are seeing in Florida, in Texas, in Arizona and other states," Fauci said.

(ABC News contributed to this report.)

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

Comments

27 Comments

  1. Well maybe our fearless leaders should stop putting attention and funds in changing names of historical people they don’t like and start putting funds into our own testing capabilities? Oh that sounds to controversial? Depending on ourselves to fighting the disease? The only malfeasance here is marks racist and filthy mouth.

    1. If a sitting president could be charged with Malfeasance your crooked president should have been in the slammer a long time ago. We just have to wait until he gets his ass booted out of office where he won’t have fat face Barr to protect him. Lock him up and throw away the key! Your retarded president must think that only Democrats are being tested for Covid19 just because these cities are Democratic strongholds.

      1. ux2 are as ridiculously stupid as mark and probably an even bigger racist. I have the list of your demoKKKrat fools have tried to bring this president down and haven’t accomplished a damn thing on it. You can choke on your vomit but this president will have another four years to put this country back on its feet regardless of your racists tactics. He did what obumer couldn’t do in eight years. Mr Trump brought back the jobs, lowest black unemployment in history. He brought back the oil, we are not dependent on anyone’s foreign oil. He brought prison reform to all black people. We are the most powerful country militarily and we will stay that way even though obumer tried to disseminate our military making deals with russia, china and iran making them more dangerous than ever. Figure that one out genius. And to top it of obumer and confused biden invented the russia hoax and what happened? Nothing. He is still here and will be for another four. But wait till Barr gets ahold of bidens’ throat for his shenanigans with Ukraine. That should be good.

        1. Where did you hear all this, son. You must have had a dream of your useless president doing something good for our country. Either that or you were watching a Fox News, Trump marathon love-in. He has done so much for minorities that a whopping 13% of Black voters want Trump to win. Sorry to give you real-world news, dude. Stick your head out of the Fox News bubble so you can see that Biden is beating your retarded president by 14 points. BIDEN2020. BYE BYE DONNIE AND COMPANY.

          1. If you don’t stop watching the volkischer beobachter and start watching real news you’re never going to know what is going on in the country.

  2. Feel sorry for your sense of Extreme Gullibility. Just because your lyin’ President says things that he wishes were true, doesn’t mean they are. All this lies that your president wants you to believe are directed at dummies like you so you can vote for him. But apparently there are millions of suckers like you who believe anyone who presents an air of authority. That’s how Hitler came to power. But we know what happened to him.

      1. Those were unaccompanied minors who were given shelter until they could be released to relatives or foster homes in the US while their paperwork was being processed.

      1. And you and MensoMike and Company Don’t? All day long you guys put up a useless defense for your Dictator in Training El Trompudo who is turning the USA into just another Banana Republic. Putin, Xi Jinping, and Jim Jung-Un are on the phone everyday teaching him how it’s done.
        The Republican enablers, Fat Face Barr, Howdy Doody aka McConnell, and boot licker Graham, don’t care if we all go to Hell in a Hand Basket. All of them will go down in the History books as the most inept, corrupt, and self serving bunch in America’s History.

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