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Where does Texas rank on list of COVID-19 tests per capita?

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Spring resident Amber Chavez said it took just minutes for health care workers to take a nasal swab as part of her COVID-19 test over the weekend.

But, as labs get hit with an influx of testing, she was forced to wait four days before finally getting results.

“I know there’s tons of people getting tested, so I know it’s very overwhelming right now,” said Chavez. “When it takes up to a week, it’s kind of difficult.”

As of Friday afternoon, 1,731 people tested positive for novel coronavirus in Texas, including 23 deaths, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. More than 23,660 people have been tested statewide.

Chavez said she was diagnosed with the flu three weeks ago, but that later turned into pneumonia and her fever kept on spiking.

“The symptoms were kind of back and forth. I wouldn’t have any for a couple of days and then I’d come back with a fever and chills,” she said. “Two days after I had the test, I ran a fever again. It got up to 100.6.”

Chavez said she received a test Sunday at Butler Stadium, the first non-private testing site in Houston. She got her results on Thursday and was relieved it was negative.

But, like many other residents across the Houston-area, she had to wait days for the good news.

 

Statewide, Texas has administered about 789 tests per 1 million residents, up significantly from only about 81 tests the previous week, according to a 13 Investigates analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project.

Nationwide, there’s been about 1,580 tests per million residents. New York tops the list with 6,277 tests per 1 million people. To date, Texas ranks number 39.

Shortage of nurses

As the number of testing and confirmed positive cases in Texas grows, it’s also impacting the already existing doctor and nurse shortage.

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, the government knew there was a shortage of doctors and nurses in almost every corner of the country for normal medical needs of a growing and aging population.

As cities and states now need to ramp up for coronavirus, an analysis report shows Texas needs 956 more health care professionals to meet the desired ratio. The Houston-area is short 114 health care professionals needed to meet the desired ratio of health care professionals to population.

On Sunday, Governor Greg Abbott waived several regulations to expand the state’s active nurse workforce and help meet the state’s needs.

Abbott’s actions allow temporary permit extensions to practice for graduate nurses and graduate vocational nurses who have yet to take the licensing exam.

It also allows students in their final year of nursing school to meet their clinical objectives by exceeding the 50 percent limit on simulated experiences and lets nurses with inactive licenses or retired nurses to reactivate their licenses.

“Nurses are essential to our ability to test for this virus, provide care for COVID-19 patients, and to continue providing other essential health care services,” Abbott said.

“Suspending these regulations will allow us to bring additional skilled nurses into the workforce to assist with our efforts and enhance our COVID-19 response.”

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