DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson expressed frustration Tuesday about lack of COVID-19 testing availability in Dallas.
He said less than 2% of the population in Dallas County has been tested and with businesses reopening, the need for robust testing is even more vital.
“I am not interested in finger-pointing or playing the blame game with testing availability. We are where we are and we know we are not where we need to be,” said Mayor Johnson. “Our job as city leaders is to look out for our residents’ interests.”
Mayor Johnson says he has asked Dr. Kelvin Baggett to be the COVID-19 Health and Healthcare Access Czar for the City of Dallas.
Dr Baggett was not in attendance during the Mayor’s announcement.
The goal is to make sure all communities have access to testing and effectively conducted background tracing.
Dr. Baggett will work with the city, Dallas County, hospital systems, the private sector, faith leaders, academic institutions and the task force on economic recovery.
“This is an all hands on deck situation and it has been from the start,” said Mayor Johnson.
He said everyone has a role to play in getting us through this situation quicker.
“This virus is still spreading. People are still dying,” he said. “Now is not the time for a party at the park or your house. We are not out of the woods yet.”
Mayor Johnson reminded the public to keep social distancing and washing hands often.
On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council will consider approving a program offering 60 mobile tests per day, targeted at residents who don’t have transportation to get to the various drive-thru testing sites.
They’ll focus on zip codes that have the highest rates of positive tests.
Mayor Johnson’s office explained in a news release following the news conference on Tuesdya, Dr. Baggett is a physician trained in public health and business.
He currently serves as Managing Director of Posterity Capital Group, a firm committed to investing in companies that improve healthcare delivery and health outcomes.
He also serves as a Senior Advisor to Pharos Capital Group. He previously served as the Chief Clinical Officer for Tenet Healthcare and as Chief Operating Officer for HCA, Clinical Services Group. Most recently, he was the Chief Operating Officer for Health Care Navigator.
Regarding the need for more COVID-19 testing, Mayor Johnson sent the following letter to U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
Mayor Johnson requested the extension of two federally-supported Covid-19 drive-thru testing sites and the doubling of capacity.