SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Thanks to the expansion of a pilot program, small businesses in this coastal city will now be able to receive COVID-19 rapid tests.

The South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday that it will participate in Gov. Greg Abbott’s COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program.

Through the program, the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) will provide Chamber of Commerce organizations with COVID-19 testing supplies that will be allocated to local small businesses that choose to participate.

Small businesses can then administer the tests to employees who choose to participate.

According to a press release, small businesses are required to be trained on proper testing protocols, as well as include test administration and reporting of results, as required by law.

As a part of the program, the SPI Chamber of Commerce will be provided with delivery of an allocation of the Abbott BinaxNow test kits, face masks, product training and support to refill supplies as available.

Each test kit contains 40 tests and one bottle of reagent.

SPI Chamber of Commerce test coordinator Dianna L. Harvill said the Chamber is excited to support the project, as well as help put a stop to the coronavirus and keep local businesses open.

According to Harvill, based on the criteria of the project the Chamber reached out to member businesses that have enough employees to utilize the kit in a relatively short period of time.

“It would be great if we could supply every business with this opportunity, but since the test kits have 40 test cards and a single bottle of reagent, the test kits must remain with the business they are allocated to and cannot be shared with other businesses, and can only be used for employees of the registered business,” she added.

According to the press release, the SPI Chamber of Commerce will be able to request additional supplies after all participating businesses have administered and reported test results of at least 70 percent of the tests allocated to the Chamber.

“The small business rapid testing program is protecting the safety of small business owners, their employees, and Texas consumers as we continue to combat COVID-19,” Abbott stated in a press release. “By expanding this effective strategy, it will help us further detect and mitigate this virus so we can keep Texas safely open for business.”

In December, the project was launched as a pilot program with six participating Chamber of Commerce organizations.

The organizations included the Edinburg, Laredo, Lubbock, El Paso and Amarillo Chambers of Commerce, as well as the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation.

According to a press release, the program was developed using the framework of the COVID-19 Rapid Testing Pilot Program for Texas school systems.

In October, the pilot program was implemented by the Texas Education Agency and TDEM to provide access to rapid testing for teachers, students and staff in participating school systems.

For more information about the program, visit https://tdem.texas.gov/chambertesting/


ahernandez@valleystar.com