Austin Mayor Steve Adler said that the city would reverse its decision to offer testing for COVID-19 to people without symptoms because the city no longer has the capacity for it.


Adler attributed the decision to Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott in a Facebook video.

"Dr. Escott is now saying that not everybody can get tested," Adler said in Friday's video. "We're going to go back to only testing people who are symptomatic because we, frankly, don't have enough testing capability."

The Texas Tribune reports long lines at testing sites.

Travis County reported 728 new cases on Saturday, though no reports were made public Friday because the COVID-19 dashboard was down for maintenance.

Adler also asked that people who have health insurance avoid using the Austin Public Health free testing service.

"We have so many people that are going online that it's hard to get an appointment for several days," the mayor said. "Anybody who has insurance should not be using Central Health or CommUnityCare testing. If you have insurance, please contact your doctor or your insurance carrier and find out where it is that you can get testing."

In an email update sent Saturday, the mayor said the city may hit hospital capacity by mid-July. He urged residents to wear masks and keep distance from each other.

The mayor said Friday he appreciated the governor's order to close bars again and decrease capacity in restaurants.

(Gecko Studio/Adobe)

High demand across the country has led to slower turnaround times for COVID-19 test kits.

The surge in Austin's COVID-19 cases is overwhelming the public health system trying to fight community spread.

"We can't get people tested right now," said Dr. James Marroquin, an internal medicine doctor practicing in Austin. "To me, that's a scandal."

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