Amarillo ISD COVID testing site reopens after holiday break; 17.6% positivity rate this week

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Amarillo ISD’s drive-thru COVID testing site reopened this week, seeing fewer staff and students for testing than before the holiday break.

“We haven’t had a lot of testers, not a lot of folks have come through, you know since we started back up on January the fourth, about 240 folks, but we were doing way more than that before the break,” said Chris Tatum, AISD executive director for human resources.

According to Tatum, the AISD staff positivity rate has dropped about 10% since testing started on Nov. 9, 2020.

Data from the district show the student positivity rate increased slightly from around this time in December. Student testing started Nov. 30, 2020.

In total, 1,602 staff and students have been tested, with 1,254 negatives and 348 positives for a positivity rate of 21.7%.

“There was a lot of positives early, but really in that the whole month of December—that the positive just started to decline, and again, they’re on the decline this week as well,” Tatum said.

This week, from Jan. 4-8, 243 people were tested, with 200 negatives and 43 positives for a positivity rate of 17.6%.

“A lot of those positives came on Monday,” said Tatum of this week’s testing. “So, I don’t know if people waited, you know, over the holidays until that Monday where they could come in and get that test here for free, or what they needed to do. But really since Monday is—we’ve had very few positives come through our line.”

When asked if AISD feels more positive about 2021 and our community’s handling of the pandemic as vaccinations increase, Tatum gave an upbeat answer.

“We are going to work hand in hand with the health department as soon as our staff that don’t meet the criteria for 1B. So, anybody who meets the criteria for 1B can go even, you know, staff included,” Tatum added. “But for those who don’t meet the criteria for 1B, we’ll work hand in hand with the health department to figure out a way that we can…vaccinate efficiently and effectively.”

Tatum went on to say, “All of our staff and you know, really our teachers, they’re heroes, our everyday heroes are sitting in classes with kiddos. And every day, they put themselves out there on the frontlines, and we really, really want them to be able to early and as quickly as possible, be vaccinated if they so choose.”

Tatum also said the district has not yet seen a measurable surge in coronavirus cases after the holiday break.

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