UTRGV medical school conducting COVID-19 testing

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine personnel administer COVID screening at UTRGV Edinburg campus on Monday, March 30, 2020 in Edinburg. Photo by Delcia Lopez/The Monitor | dlopez@themonitor.com

HARLINGEN — The Rio Grande Valley’s medical students are playing a big role in the coronavirus pandemic.

“If there was ever a time to be grateful for a school of medicine, this is it,” Dr. Guy Bailey, president of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, said during a press conference featuring U.S Sen. John Cornyn last Tuesday.

During the pandemic, the university has converted the medical school’s lab into a COVID-19 testing site, Bailey said.

As of Aug. 7, the school has tested 45,000 samples, he said. At the lab, he said, the average test result is ready within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the state has contracted the medical school to conduct contact tracing, tracking down residents whom COVID-19 patients may have exposed to the coronavirus, Bailey said.

Now, the school is conducting contact tracing in the region south of San Antonio, he said.