Governor says virus tests may increase as schools reopen

A test kit is displayed at a Texas Division of Emergency Management free COVID-19 testing site at Minute Maid Park Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in Houston. The newly opened mega site, which has eight drive-thru lanes and four walk-up lanes, has the ability to process 2,000 tests per day. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that coronavirus testing in Texas could increase as schools reopen amid a sharp drop-off in the number of tests in recent weeks.

Texas has averaged more than 34,000 tests a day over the past week, down from a daily average of more than 60,000 in late July. At the same time, Texas’ rolling positivity rate has rapidly increased to nearly 20 percent, nearly double its rate of just over a week ago.

New cases and hospitalizations have stabilized and decreased, and coronavirus deaths in Texas have reached nearly 8,500. Asked about the decrease in testing, Abbott pointed to “surge teams” previously deployed to hot spots that he said drove testing numbers up.

He also said colleges should continue trying to find ways to have a college football season that would protect player health in the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump has joined a number of coaches in for the college football season to be saved from a pandemic-forced shutdown.

The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.