Sen. Cornyn tours Community Healthcare Center, talks CARES Act funding

Updated: Aug. 18, 2020 at 9:18 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The city of Wichita Falls has received over $35 million in CARES Act funding, and on Tuesday, Texas Senator John Cornyn was in the city to see the impact the money had first-hand.

Senator Cornyn toured the Community Healthcare Center, which has provided over 1,800 COVID-19 tests to the community since March. As CEO Allen Patterson puts it, that’s a position he didn’t see the center in just a few months ago, between losing 35-percent of their regular appointments and going through PPE four times faster than usual.

“I mean like, two days before that April payroll when we would not have had enough funds to cover payroll,” Patterson explained.

Now, Patterson said he feels the CHC can survive the pandemic.

“The difference between CHC probably closing its doors last April, early May at the latest, and now we are incredibly well-positioned to not only survive COVID-19 but in fact plow through it,” he said.

Patterson took Senator Cornyn on a tour of the CHC, showing off the labs and patient rooms. The two discussed new testing taking place that hopes to get results faster to people.

“What I needed to do was come here and listen to the people who were most immediately affected and those people in charge,” the senator said.

“There’s a huge indirect impact to these funds,” Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana added.

Cornyn said the work isn’t done, though, when it comes to handling COVID-19.

“We’re fighting a battle on at least two fronts: one is on the public health battle,” he explained, “the other is on the economic consequences of the mitigation efforts.”

As CARES Act funding begins to dry up, Senator Cornyn said he understands the need for another relief bill.

While the Senate is on recess.. he said there is a plan to add some virus relief measures into a new bill being presented by the House, which will focus on funding and reform for the U.S. Postal Service.

He said until then, though, “we’re going to have to learn to live with this virus in ways that we have just never had to before.”

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