Press Releases

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher Leads Fight To Increase COVID-19 Testing in Houston and Harris County

Washington, April 2, 2020

(Houston, TX) – Today, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) called on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to increase the number of COVID-19 testing available in the Houston region and to ensure labs have the resources they need to process tests in a timely manner.  

Congresswoman Fletcher was joined by Representatives Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) and Al Green (TX-09) in this effort.  With only four public testing sites in the Houston region servicing a population of nearly seven million people, and with Harris County reporting the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Texas, the members are urging the federal government to provide additional resources for testing to help ensure public safety.

“In comparison to other large metro regions, these numbers are woefully inadequate to provide the testing needed to support public health in the region.  The lack of testing means that the number of infected individuals is certainly being underestimated and those people could be unknowingly transmitting the virus to others,” the members wrote.

They continued: “We are hearing on the ground from our local officials that they no longer have enough supplies to keep up with the testing needs in the area.  To combat this virus, we need exponentially more tests and resources for labs who are processing these tests in order to speed up the results.  We can only flatten the curve if truly know the number of cases in our community.”

Even with FEMA-procured kits and supplies, Harris County can only conduct 1,000 tests each day.  All four testing sites are wholly dependent on support from FEMA-sourced supplies, and given the low rate of testing available in the region, the members pressed FEMA and HHS to issue more kits to help protect public health.

The full text of the letter is available here