Texas Gov. Asks For Federal Help With COVID Testing, Treatments As Cases Climb

Greg Abbott has fought against vaccine mandates and accused the Biden administration of "bullying" private businesses to implement them.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) requested assistance from the federal government for coronavirus testing sites, additional medical personnel and monoclonal antibody treatments as the rapidly spreading omicron variant causes an increase in cases and hospitalizations in his state.

“Detecting COVID-19 and preventing COVID-related hospitalizations are critical to our fight against this virus,” Abbott said in a statement Friday.

Abbott requested additional testing sites in Bexar, Cameron, Dallas, Harris, Hidalgo and Tarrant counties, chosen because of their growing positivity rates and hospitalizations. As of Dec. 31, Harris ranked fifth in the number of confirmed cases by county in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.

Abbott, who is vaccinated, made the request the same day he touted a court victory over the Biden administration’s attempt to implement mask and vaccine mandates in the state’s Head Start program. Abbott has fought against vaccine mandates throughout the pandemic, issuing an executive order in October barring vaccine mandates in Texas and accusing the Biden administration of “bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.”

Though scientists are still studying the omicron variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has repeatedly urged Americans to take advantage of current vaccines, which studies show protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death, and slow the transmission of the coronavirus.

Last month, the Biden administration announced it would provide additional support to hospitals and set up more testing sites around the country in response to the omicron variant.

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