Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Representing the 18th District of TEXAS

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Continues Efforts to Expand Access to More Free Testing for the Houston Community

May 19, 2020
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             

March 31, 2020                                                                                  

Contact: Glenn Rushing



Press Statement

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Continues Efforts to Expand Access to More Free Testing for the Houston Community

“As a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security which is responsible for the domestic health security of our nation and the Budget Committee, it is critical that the people of Houston and Harris County get tested if they are experiencing symptoms or exposed to an infected individual. My office will continue to push for more testing sites throughout the Houston area and to secure the proper resources for treatment of this dreadful virus.”

HOUSTON, TX – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released the following statement regarding the current status of the Coronavirus and her efforts to provide access to free testing and treatment throughout the Houston community:

“My concern and prayers are with every citizen throughout the City of Houston and Harris County. We are on a long journey, but we will travel this journey together as friends and family through faith and prayer.”

This is the second testing site Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has officially announced that provides free testing conducted by the United Memorial Medical Center. With the announcement that up to 200,000 or more people in the United States will die from the Coronavirus, it is imperative that we keep increasing testing opportunities throughout the City of Houston and Harris County. 

We have surpassed 3000 deaths in the United States and there were more than 500 reports of deaths from coronavirus on Monday, the most death reports in a single day in the United States. More than one out of every six US deaths reported during the coronavirus crisis was reported Monday.

As the U.S. mobilizes to combat COVID-19 and new fiscal and health care resources are deployed to slow the pace at which COVID-19 is spreading, it is important to remember that reactionary policies are not enough to get ahead of the virus. This is the critical time to call for strategies for building an inclusive, generous, and adaptive health delivery system for all Americans. The “haves and the have not” mentality must end, so that we have the stamina and strength to outpace COVID-19’s outbreak, while a vaccine can be developed and deployed.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is on record saying that “the testing situation is infinitely better than what it was a few weeks ago. We now have hundreds of thousands of tests out there and in the next week or so we'll be having like a million a week.”

The opening of this new site is part of the constant and needed expansion for testing to make our situation better.  I am proud of the proactive pace of the United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) in providing the critical testing needed to slow the infection rate,” stated Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

General Honore’ has stated over and over again, “you have to have caring for the people who are already sick. We have to test, test, test. We have to do more prevention, as we’re doing with telling people to stay home.”

While increasing the number of tests is necessary, it is not the complete resolution to our problem. If we want to stop Covid-19, we must also focus on gathering data from the test and understanding the clinical conditions of the individuals they came from, how they were exposed to the virus and, perhaps most importantly, how they compare to people who test negative.

For the first 4,226 coronavirus cases in the United States, no information was available for one-third of the cases about whether the patient had to be hospitalized, more than half lacked information on whether the patient required treatment in an intensive care unit, just under half, it was unclear if the patient survived the infection or died, and there wasn’t even the most basic demographic data — age, sex, race— for 10% of the cases.

If we are going to get a handle on this dreadful disease, it is time we go beyond just testing and gather critical data to understand this virus.  We must require laboratories to submit basic information like age, county of residence, and testing site on every person tested — not just the positives.

Second, we need a survey of multiple communities to assess the real percentage of people in a community who test positive for recent coronavirus infection. That means we need to do random testing of people in communities hard-hit by the outbreak.

“What we are doing is saving lives, restoring working families and the working poor, and our small businesses,” stated Congresswoman Jackson Lee. “And we will do this as we have done in past through the #Amazing Grace of the people of Houston and the nation.”


“We will continue to work relentlessly and in a bipartisan way to put Families and Workers First and protect Americans’ health, economic security and well-being,” stated Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.



Congresswoman Jackson Lee is a Democrat from Texas’s 18th Congressional District. She is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security and a member of the Budget Committee.