County to administer rapid testing for COVID with grant funds
Milam County residents will now have access to rapid result testing for COVID through funding from the CARES Act.
The county and each municipality received COVID funds through the CARES Act by Texas Department of Emergency Management. The money is available to each entity by simply signing the required forms on the TDEM website.
“We have discussed using some of these funds to provide free COVID rapid testing in the county,” Milam County Judge Steve Young said. “We can get the BD rapid test kits within two weeks or so and hopefully begin testing by Sept. 1, 2020.”
Young said that upon completion of the required form TDEM automatically deposits 20 percent of the designated funds into the account of the requesting entity and the remainder is received by a draw, after making the payment. Seventy-five percent of the allocated funds must be used for COVID related medical expenditures. The funds must be spent by Dec. 31, 2020.
There will tentatively be a lab located in the old hospital building in Cameron, but testing would be done at each city. The kits would be brought back to the Cameron lab for processing and the patients would be notified that evening or the next morning.
Young said the way that testing is currently going patients are not receiving results for at least a week, which is doing no good.
“We plan to actually do the testing in various locations around the county, such as the fire stations in Thorndale, Rockdale, Milano, Gause, Cameron and Buckholts on a rotating basis,” he said. “The test results will be provided to the patient on the same day of the test or shortly thereafter. The tests will be administered free of charge to any Milam County resident who is symptomatic.”
Pursuant to the CARES act the following allocations were made: Milam County $610,115 – 44.68 percent of total allotment; Buckholts $29,920 – 2.19 percent of total allotment; Cameron $309,959 – 22.67 percent of the total allotment; Milano $25,080 – 1.83 percent of the total allotment; Rockdale $312,675 – 22.90 percent of the total allotment; and Thorndale $77,880 – 5.7 percent of the total allotment.
“We propose that each entity pay their respective percentage share of the entire project,” Young said. “For example, if the total cost of testing including labor, tests and equipment is $100,000, Milam County would pay $44,068 of the cost. Any involved entity could donate more if it so desired.”
Young said at this point the county would need a nurse and an EMT helper to run the testing.
“We have discussed the plan with some of the medical providers in the county,” Young said. “At one point we thought of providing the test kits to the providers and have them perform the tests. However, the grant rules do not allow anyone to make a profit from grant funding and thus the providers would be forced to perform the test free of charge.”
“None of this happens unless we all work together and I want every citizen of Milam County to know that county and city government are working very closely to provide an essential needed service in the midst of this terrible pandemic. I hope you can make it,” he said.
As of Wednesday morning, Aug. 5, there were 332 cases of COVID in the county with 25 active cases and 10 probably cases. There are currently 50 people being monitored by the Milam County Health Department. Three people are hospitalized and there are three deaths from the virus.
The Health Department released new demographics this week.
The 20-49 age groups represent 48 percent of the total cases in the county. The birth - 19 years of age represents 13 percent of the total positives.
Percentages by age group are as follows:
0-9 = 2 percent
10-19 = 10 percent
20-29 = 16 percent
30-39 = 15 percent
40-49 = 17 percent
50-59 = 17 percent
60-69 = 15 percent
70-79 = 5 percent
80-89 = 5 percent
90-99 = 2 percent
Towns associated with the zip codes and percentages are as follows:
76520 – Cameron – 49 percent
76567 – Rockdale – 30 percent
76577 – Thorndale – 8 percent
76518 – Buckholts – 5 percent
76556 – Milano – 5 percent
77857 – Gause – 2 percent
76569 – Rogers – 1 percent