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Congresswoman and Jacinto City host COVID-19 testing

L to R: Dr. Joseph Varon, Mayor Ana Diaz (white shirt) Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (at podium), Constable Chris Diaz and not pictured, Constance Jones (Texas Coalition Black Democrats). Wearing protective masks and keeping a safe distance apart from each other as each one gave their advice as to how to prevent the spread of the virus. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

JACINTO CITY – Monday, April 6, 2020 — Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and the City of Jacinto City hosted the United Memorial Medical Center’s COVID-19 virus testing. The testing of 190 people was conducted at the Jacinto City Town Center which was aimed at testing First Responders and seniors over 60 years of age.

North Channel Star writer Allan Jamail asked about the cost for the tests and both UMMC President Syed Mohuiddin and Congresswoman Lee said the testing is free.

City Manager Lon Squyres upon learning of the availability to be able to bring testing to the city activated all city departments to work with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) to accomplish the testing. He said, “I’m so glad for this opportunity to make our first responders comfortable when going home to their families after serving on the front lines in our communities.” First responders tested were from Jacinto City, Galena Park, Houston and several constable precincts.

Lon Squyres, City Manager (in foreground) making sure everyone that will be tested keeps a safe distance apart while waiting in line at the Jacinto City Town Center. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

Mayor Ana Diaz and city officials were at the site to oversee the one day event. Mayor Diaz said, “We’re so appreciative of Congresswoman Lee for her bringing UMMC here for testing of our Police and Fire Department personnel, area seniors and anyone with COVID-19 symptoms.”

Jacinto City’s Heritage Hall Director Elizabeth Flores was applauded for her and her staff’s role in helping to get seniors to the facility for testing. Maria Espinosa, Program Assistant said, “since the daily meals eaten here at the facility has been canceled due to the virus we now have a week’s supply of meals boxed up and given to the members that they come get and easily prepare at home.” Debbie Martinez, Program Assistant stayed busy all day shuttling seniors from their homes to the testing site.

State Senator Carol Alvarado said, “I am grateful for the extensive work that United Memorial Medical Center and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee are doing across Houston to open testing centers. We all know that our seniors are the most vulnerable group, so it’s really key that they’re able to get tested and treated quickly, if needed. Mobile testing centers like this one are a big part of tackling COVID-19 and slowing its spread, so I couldn’t be more appreciative to have testing in Jacinto City.”

State Representative Ana Hernandez said, “I am grateful for the commitment to the health of our community and leadership of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee during these unprecedented times. It is vital in our fight against this virus outbreak that our senior citizens and first responders, the most vulnerable of our neighbors, have access to coronavirus testing.”

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has also teamed up with UMMC for testing at their own UMMC facility on Tidwell, Houston at Forest Brook Middle School and Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land.

At the UMMC facility 3,030 test were made having 285 confirmed positive cases, the average age of those testing positive is 37. Forest Brook had 413 tests with only 2 positive. Sugarland had 446 tests and 35 positive.

The test specimens were sent to Houston’s AltruDX laboratory with results due in 3 days. It’s a clinical laboratory for the biological, microbiological, serological, chemical, immunohematological, hematological, biophysical, cytological, pathological, or other examination of materials derived from the human body for the purpose of providing information for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of any disease or impairment of, human beings.