Buda city council eyes free COVID testing program 

By Sahar Chmais
BUDA – From now until the end of March, it would cost approximately $91,000 for Buda to administer COVID-19 tests through CVS Health’s Return Ready program.
The city pays for these tests through CARES Act funds, but they have been presented with a chance to pay nothing for state-allocated COVID-19 tests. Buda City Council members were hesitant to approve the proposal due to multiple unanswered questions.
The tests are for city employees and those serving on boards and commissions for the city of Buda.
State-allocated, rapid 15-minute COVID-19 tests would have to be administered by city staff and not by medical personnel. There is a one-day training course, but council members wondered if this poses a health risk to staff, or if they will know how to properly do the testing.
Firefighters in Buda and some schools in Hays CISD use this method, said Vicki Fuchs, human resources director, who presented this cost-free option. Even with this knowledge, council members asked that they speak with firefighters and schools using this testing method.
Council member Terry Cummings said she appreciated money-saving options, but not at the expense of city staff. Others in the council echoed her concern. She also wondered where the data goes after the tests have been administered, which Fuchs was unsure of.
Fuchs had few answers because the proposal came to her about one hour before the city council meeting. During the one-month extension period with CVS, council members said they will look over the new testing method and figure out which is the best option.
If council decides to move forward with the state testing, it will be readily available for city use.


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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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