OakBend Sugar Land

Staff photo by Albert Villegas

The front of OakBend Medical Center in Sugar Land is shown on Thursday, Aug. 27. The facility is home to COVID-19 testing that was halted due to Hurricane Laura.

Officials with OakBend Medical Group said this week it would re-open its COVID-19 testing site in Sugar Land on Monday, Aug. 31.

In an email to the Wharton Journal-Spectator this week, Linda Drummond, who is with OakBend’s public relations, said the temporary closing  was due to the impending landfall of Hurricane Laura, which struck Louisiana around 2 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 27. 

In Wharton, Oakbend requested to postpone the testing here due to Hurricane Laura.  

“As soon as they give the city a confirmed date for a start, we will let (the community) know,” said City Secretary Paula Favors, who is the city’s public information officer. “We would like to push out the information to as many sources as possible.”

Earlier this month, the Wharton City Council approved a resolution for testing services amid the COVID-19 pandemic. When Wharton elected officials approved the resolution, the agreement that was part of their packet for an Aug. 10 regular meeting, didn’t have set dates and times.

According to the city, OakBend representatives met with city staff on July 21 to work out details of an agreement.

City Manager Andres Garza said the City of Wharton had received funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) for COVID-19 expenditures. 

Garza said the City of Wharton received $490,000 for additional testing through the CARES Act. Garza said the City of Wharton plans to allocate $100,000 out of this funding. He said it could result in between 750 to 1,000 residents being tested. Garza told council persons that it is possible to test up to 75 people per day.

Since these monies are being provided by the federal government, the city would have to account for all the funding that is being spent. Garza said it would have to be in a manner that meets all federal requirements.

The resolution reads that the testing would be for anyone with or without symptoms, and the type of test that would be utilized is the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. The resolution also reads that the testing results would be provided to the patient within the hours specified in an agreement.

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