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More COVID-19 federal funding, resources flowing into Texas

A Walgreens employee talks with a person in line for COVID-19 testing in Dallas, Saturday April 25, 2020. The location began testing for the new coronavirus on Friday with a drive-through process and is provided to eligible individuals at no cost. Persons wanting to be tested are asked to go online to their website to determine their eligibility. The nasal swab test is self administered with directions from a store pharmacist.

(The Center Square) – More federal funding is flowing into Texas to support COVID-19 testing efforts and provide emergency funds for local governments.

The U.S. Department of Defense has activated additional U.S. Army Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces (UAMTF) from the U.S. Department of Defense to assist the state’s efforts. One UAMTF arrived in San Antonio July 6.

On July 10, UAMTF units and a Disaster Medical Assistance Team from U.S. Health and Human Services was deployed to the Houston area. Federal assessment teams are also operating in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Laredo, McAllen and San Antonio.

Four UAMTFs, along with a U.S. Navy Acute Care Team and four U.S. Navy Rapid Rural Response teams, are being deployed to additional locations across Texas as identified by ongoing assessments. The teams consist of medical and support professionals to support medical needs in hospitals throughout the state.

“Our ongoing partnership with the federal government is crucial to meeting the medical needs of Texans as we combat COVID-19 in our communities,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a press release.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended federal support of Community Based Testing Sites in Dallas and Houston through July 31.

There are now over 900 testing sites across the state of Texas, the governor’s office said.

The state’s Public Safety Office is distributing $41 million in federal funds to assist cities and counties paid for by the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program authorized by the federal Emergency Appropriations for Coronavirus Health Response and Agency Operations Act.

The first round of funding, totaling $7 million, will be distributed this week.

Funds awarded under the CESF program will be used to pay for first responder overtime and hazard pay; equipment and supplies supporting teleworking technologies, personal protective gear; county jail costs associated with the medical needs of inmates, and reimbursements for holding inmates awaiting transfer to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The CESF Program provides financial assistance to cities and counties to address the public safety challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19. The governor’s office posted a list of jurisdictions that have received funding online, which will be updated as funding is released.

Local units of government that are interested in learning more about this program can contact PSO via egrants@gov.texas.gov or at 512-463-1919.

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