“Federal public health officials have been in continuous contact with our public health leaders in Texas, and after receiving yesterday’s request for an extension, have agreed to extend support for five community-Based Testing Sites in Texas,” Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett P. Giroir said in a statement on Friday. “We will continue to closely monitor Covid-19 diagnoses and assess the need for further federal support of these sites as we approach the extension date.”
The program is still set to expire on June 30 for eight remaining sites across the country.
The federal assistance will include additional federal resources in Dallas and Houston, where the virus has made a heavy impact, according to a press release from Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s office.
“I thank our federal partners for extending these operations in Texas, and for their flexibility in allocating their resources to the communities of Dallas and Houston that are experiencing a high number of COVID-19 cases right now,” Abbott said in a statement.
At a campaign rally over the weekend, he said coronavirus testing was “a double-edged sword.”
“I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please,”http://rss.cnn.com/” the President added.
Vice President Mike Pence claimed on Friday that “all 50 states and territories across this country are opening up safely and responsibly” even as cases surge in many states, and eight states have paused their reopening efforts.
Pence also said he will soon visit some of the states currently hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic — including states where the President recently held political events where attendees weren’t required to wear face masks or social distance.
“The freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States,” Pence said. “We have an election coming up this fall. And President Trump and I believe that taking proper steps … and giving people the very best counsel that we have, we still want to give people the freedom to participate in the political process. And we respect that.”
CNN’s Brad Parks, Lauren Fox, Priscilla Alvarez, Ali Zaslav, Daniella Diaz and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.