HOUSTON (CBSDFW/AP) – Houston is getting some help from New York in its efforts to increase coronavirus testing amid a spike in the number of local cases and hospitalizations.
A group of doctors and nurses from New York with personal protective equipment and other supplies arrived in Houston last weekend to help set up testing sites at two churches, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a conference call.
One of the testing sites opened on Thursday and people “are taking full advantage” of it, said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. The other site is set to open on Friday.
Houston, like other U.S. cities, has been struggling to meet the growing demand for COVID-19 testing, with long waits and sites often running out of their daily supply of tests by noon.
“A lot of people … are wanting testing, needing testing and they’re having to wait a long time,” Turner said.
Texas is struggling to contain one of the biggest coronavirus surges in the U.S.
Cuomo said his office reached out to Turner to see what help it could provide. New York is also providing similar help to Atlanta.
It’s in New York state’s best interest, according to Cumo, to help other communities and it is also a way to return the help the state received when it was the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak in the spring.
Cuomo’s office sent 19 clinical staff and five support staff to Houston, along with supplies to support the two testing sites, according to Mary Benton, a spokeswoman for Turner.
“All New Yorkers stand with you in solidarity. Anything you need, know that we are here and you can call on us,” Cuomo told Turner.