With Missouri City reeling from a recent COVID-19 outbreak at Paradigm at First Colony Nursing home, the area’s state and federal representatives partnered with United Memorial Medical Center and local faith leaders to open a free coronavirus testing center Monday at Christ Temple of Deliverance church.

State Rep. Ron Reynolds of District 27 and U.S. Rep. Al Green of District 9 were in attendance for the opening of the testing site, along with Bishop Destry Bell.

“Those who need testing, (even) if they don’t think they need it, they should come,” Bell said.

The free testing location replaces a Missouri City site previously operated by Fort Bend County, which has added a testing location at Fifth Street Community Center in Stafford. The county also is administering free COVID-19 tests at Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land, Gallery Furniture in Richmond and Seven Lakes Middle School in Katy. Appointments are required at the county sites and can be made by visiting www.fbchealth.org or calling 281-238-2363 between 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The testing site at Christ Temple of Deliverance, located at 3710 McHard Rd., is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m for drive-up testing. No symptoms or referrals are required to obtain a test. A photo ID is required.

Reynolds and Green had previously tested negative, and Green brought out his test results in front of a gathering of reporters, inviting onlookers to examine them. He also added that all of his staff that have volunteered to travel with him to public appearances have also been tested and thus far, all have tested negative for coronavirus. Those employees are receiving hazard pay during the pandemic.

“I encourage all of our constituents to come here,” Reynolds said. “You don’t need any symptoms, you don’t need any paperwork, you don’t need any money. You don’t need anything but to come here in your vehicle and get tested.

“We’re so grateful to offer this church as a facility for the community to come get tested. People need to know their status.”

The two elected officials reiterated their emphasis on the importance of testing, wearing masks and social distancing.

“We went through this with seatbelts,” Green said. “There were people who thought they had a constitutional right to drive without seatbelts. … Seatbelts save lives. Because seatbelts save lives and injuries, our insurance (costs) less. It’s important for us to understand that with this virus — you can go without a mask in your home if you choose to — but if you’re going to be in the public, you’re putting yourself and others at risk. You don’t have a right to put others at risk.”

Green was asked about finding a solution to provide Texans with another round of stimulus relief and addressed what he said was lacking in President Donald Trump’s recent executive order, including a $400 weekly check to the unemployed, $100 of which would come from state coffers. Green said this measure was insufficient, because states are cash-strapped by lower tax revenue and dependent on federal aid.

“I want to see $600 (per week in unemployment benefits),” Green said. “We, the government, need to step up and get back to the negotiating table. Compromise is not capitulation.”

In addition, Green announced a food drive would be held along with the Houston Food Bank at Christ Temple of Deliverance from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.

Bell said volunteers are welcome to assist the food bank with the food drive on Saturday and that those interested should arrive between 9:30-10 a.m.

-Fort Bend Star