Federal support for free Dallas COVID-19 testing sites set to end June 30

As Dallas County reported another record in cases and hospitalizations, FOX 4 learned that free testing sites in Dallas, including the American Airlines Center and Ellis Davis Field House, will lose federal support in about a week. But the city and county say they have a plan to keep them open.              

Elected officials are fighting to keep these testing sites open, even without help from the federal government.

The federal government is pulling support for testing sites in Dallas at the end of this month, according to Dallas’ emergency manager and a spokesperson for the city.

It comes as cases and hospitalizations are spiking. In Dallas County alone, there are now more than 1,000 people hospitalized with COVID.

READ MORE: Dallas County reports record-breaking COVID-19 hospitalizations, 445 new cases

“It’s disappointing the federal government has decided not to continue the funding. We’re seeing record cases now,” said Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Casey Thomas.

The city and the county are now partnering up to keep testing going. An announcement is expected Wednesday to hire a private vendor to handle the job that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services used to do by supplying tests and running labs at seven sites across Dallas.

Thomas chairs the city council's COVID-19 committee. He says, if anything, Dallas needs more support from the federal government, not less.

“We need more community testing sites, and that’s something that we’re working on,” Thomas said. “We’re working with churches. We’re working with community-based organizations.”

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The city has not yet said which private vendor will be hired or how much it will cost, but Thomas believes it will be paid for, in part, with some of the $200 million the city received from the CARES Act.

Representative Colin Allred issued a statement Tuesday, advocating for Dallas. The statement reads, “Testing is critical to beating this virus… We must make testing easily accessible to everyone, but the lack of a national strategy has left North Texas without the necessary resources."

The Department of Health and Human Services denies pulling support for testing, saying in a statement it plans to continue expansion through other venues like pharmacies. They said in part, "We are transitioning 13 sites from the original, now-antiquated program to the more efficient and effective testing sites."

Councilman Thomas says they're also looking to add testing sites in areas that need it most, like minority communities and areas with less access to healthcare.

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