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Paris Mayor Clifford Announces $25 Coronavirus Testing Plan

City of Paris government could soon be providing $25 coronavirus tests to anyone who wanted them.
City of Paris government could soon be providing $25 coronavirus tests to anyone who wanted them.

In Lamar County, Paris mayor Steve Clifford has announced plans to provide drive-through coronavirus testing to the general public for a fee.

Clifford made the announcement late Monday on his professional Facebook page. He said the city has ordered 5,000 testing kits. Clifford identified Justiss Elementary School as a likely testing site, but added that the logistics of the plan have not been finalized. The test would involve getting a small blood sample. Lab techs would look for the presence of a coronavirus antibody, which would indicate a positive test for coronavirus if found. Clifford said the tests would cost $25, which is the price of the kit itself. The City of Paris would pay for the logistical and administrative aspects of the testing process.

Currently, Paris health care facilities are testing people who have reported symptoms of the virus or work in certain high-exposure-risk professions. Clifford said that insurance typically covers the costs of such tests, which run around $180. The mayor encouraged people to test at a health care facility if eligible and covered by insurance. But the drive-through testing would be available to anyone who wanted it. Clifford said that people could pay and register online, and would then be given an appointment time window. Results could be returned same-day. No timeline for the implementation of the system has been announced.

Clifford said the city had approved ordering as many as 20,000 of the $25 kits, but he chose to buy 5,000 initially. Clifford said that although the city had vetted the company selling the tests and felt comfortable with the purchase, spending about a quarter of the money allocated for buying tests seemed more prudent in case of unforeseen problems. The company selling the tests headed for Paris is Pharmatech, Inc., of San Diego, Calif.

Mark Haslett has served at KETR since 2013. Since then, the station's news operation has enjoyed an increase in listener engagement and audience metrics, as well recognition in the Texas AP Broadcasters awards.