BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s been up and running for six months, but the COVID-19 testing site at Legion Field could be shut down next month because money for it is running out, according to Jefferson County Health Department officials.
Earlier this year, local leaders and the community fought for the drive-thru COVID-19 testing site to open, but it’s in danger of closing because of funding from the federal government.
“Right now with the CARES Act funding, we can support this site up through December. After that, we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Dr. David Hicks, Deputy Health Office for the Jefferson County Health Department said.
With COVID cases surging in Alabama ahead of Thanksgiving, Jefferson County’s Deputy Health Officer says testing is needed now more than ever, especially knowing that a vaccine won’t be readily available until sometime next year.
Hicks says if Congress does not act, then local governments and the state could have to fend for themselves. He and local leaders are asking Congress to act now.
“Because we know there’s no vaccine that’s going to be widely available until sometime in the spring, so what are we going to do until then? We need to have sites like this so we can get the testing done so that we can get people the adequate information, how they can isolate and quarantine,” Hicks said.
Monday, testing numbers doubled at Legion Field with close to 150 being tested compared to last week. Health leaders say a lot of people all over the country are getting tested before the Thanksgiving holiday.