Harris County sees increase in COVID-19 testing

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — In southwest Houston, a clinic opened up an on-the-spot rapid testing site.

Harris County Public Health told ABC13 there has been a steady increase in traffic across all of its testing sites.

Ibn Sina Foundation partnered with CVS Pharmacy to open up an on-the-spot, rapid COVID-19 testing site.

On it’s first day, staff said they were testing about 16 patients an hour at its Wilcrest Community Clinic.

“About 90 percent of our population is uninsured. They need the free testing, which we are providing at this time,” said office manager of the community clinic Mariela Soberanis.

The rapid COVID-19 test allows patients to see their results within 30 minutes, but patients have to call the clinic first and go through a screening process before making an appointment.

“Now, most of the exposure has been work-related we believe, but it could be anywhere. Patients are still going out in public, so it can be anywhere, the exposure,” Soberanis said.

Harris County Public Health and the health department have both seen an increase in the number of testing sites and the number of people getting COVID-19 tests.

Harris County Public Health reports more than 50,600 tests have been administered at its community based sites. Patients typically receive their results in about five to seven days.

Houston’s health department reported more than 49,600 tests at both stationary and mobile sites, with test results sent to patients in about three to five days.

This does not include testing performed by a third party or commercial labs.

Harris County and Houston health departments plan to focus on expanding testing and accessibility.

Soberanis said they have seen more patients test positive in recent weeks compared to when the pandemic first hit Houston in March.

“Be aware of the problem, be educated, get information,” Soberanis said. “Practice social distancing, it’s important for everyone.”

Patients who want to get tested at Ibn Sina Wilcrest Community Clinic will need to pre-register in advance by calling 281-495-7462 to schedule an appointment.

The Houston Health Department and its agency partners will set up new sites that will offer free COVID-19 tests this week.

Texas Division of Emergency Management opened up four drive-thru testing sites on Monday. Here are the locations:

Spring Oaks Middle School – 2150 Shadowdale Dr.HCC-Northeast Campus – 555 Community College Dr.Codwell Elementary School – 5225 Tavenor Ln.Kingwood Park Community Center – 4102 Rustic Woods Dr.

United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) will continue its weekday testing at a drive-thru and walk-up test site at the Southwest Multi-Service Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and a drive-thru site at Houston Community College-Southeast from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The sites don’t require appointments and offer testing until it reaches its daily capacity of 250 tests. Here are the locations:

UMMC Tidwell – 510 W Tidwell Rd.Forest Brook Middle School – 7525 Tidwell RdCullen Middle School – 6900 Scott St.Griggs School – 801 Regional Park Dr.

Houston Health Department & Community-Based Sites

The department operates two free drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites that are open to anyone, regardless of symptoms. Each site has capacity for 500 tests per day.

New days of operation for the sites are Monday through Saturday.

People can call the department’s COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220 between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. to receive an access code and directions to the nearest community-based site.

Federally Qualified Health Centers

The health department is providing test kits, lab access and equipment to four local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), so they can expand their COVID-19 testing capacity. The centers and phone numbers people can call to set up testing appointments are:

Spring Branch Community Health Center at 713-462-6565El Centro de Corazon at 713-660-1880Avenue 360 Health and Wellness at 713-426-0027Lone Star Circle of Care at the University of Houston at 346-348-1200Community Health Network at 281-816-3317

FQHC patients pay what they can afford, based on income and family size.

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About the Author: ABC13 Houston

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