Starr County to begin rapid testing

Rapid testing for the coronavirus will be available in Starr County within the next few days.

Dr. Jose Vazquez, the county’s health authority and board president of Starr County Memorial Hospital, said the county is in the final stages of securing those tests for its drive-thru testing facility.

“That will bump the numbers for sure,” Vazquez said of those who appear at their facility to get tested. “A lot of people will want to have a quick result and we are going to be capable of doing that in the next couple of days.”

Those tests will be provided through Altru Diagnostic, Inc., the same private company that is currently performing tests for the county called RT-PCR, or reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.

Those tests are being processed by the private lab in Houston.

In recent days, the number of people that have been tested at the county’s drive-thru facility, located at the parking lot of South Texas College’s Starr County campus in Rio Grande City, has been low.

“During the weekend, it was very slow, which makes us happy because (it means) we do not have that many people sick in the community,” Vazquez said. “We didn’t see that many people in the clinics, and in the testing facility, maybe two on Saturday and two on Sunday.”

On Monday, the county reported no new positive case of COVID-19, keeping the total cases at seven.

The most recent case, reported on Sunday, was a 28-year-old man who had traveled to Louisiana for work.

Of the other six cases, five consist of individuals who live in Rio Grande City, including two females — 37 and 16 years old — and three males who are 46, 34, and 35 years old.

Another case is a 30-year-old male from Roma.