On Wednesday, Oct. 7, the City of Wharton announced the $100,000 agreement providing free COVID-19 testing for Wharton residents has been terminated at the request of OakBend Medical Group.
Testing began on Sept. 14, and as reported by The County Gin on Oct. 1, utilization of this service has been minimal.
“OakBend terminated the COVID testing contract with the City of Wharton due to the cost of staffing the program,” Wharton City Secretary Paula Favors told The County Gin. “Only six COVID tests have been performed since the service was started.”
Favors stated that the medical group was within reason to terminate the contract based on low turnout numbers.
“It was within Oakbend’s contract rights to terminate the agreement,” she said. “The city fully understands the decision due to the lack of participation.”
Going forward, the city plans to revisit and review other options for the remaining CARES Act funds originally allocated for testing. Possible resolutions will be presented to the Wharton City Council at its next regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, Oct. 12.
Free testing remains available for Wharton residents through the State of Texas. Favors said the city will continue hosting state testing 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Wharton Civic Center, 1924 N. Fulton Street.
Favors said, “The City of Wharton will continue to host state free testing at the civic center, in which anyone is eligible to receive free testing.”