In a continuing effort to make free COVID-19 testing more accessible to all parts of the city, the Houston Health Department has announced some new locations and an extension of a mobile site starting Tuesday, May 5.
And good news for people who’ve been insisting for weeks that the narrow definition of COVID-19 symptoms as fever, cough and shortness of breath was ignoring what a sizable portion of the world was also experiencing, the symptoms now include “fever, chills, cough, fatigue, body aches, muscle or joint pain, shortness of breath, sore throat, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal congestion and loss of taste or smell.”
As of Monday afternoon, the score board at readyharris.org was reporting a total of 75 deaths in Houston and another 65 in unincorporated areas of Harris County. To date there have been 3,992 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city and another 2,975 in the county. On a percapita basis, Texas has one of the lowest levels of testing for the coronavirus in the country.
On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott, who loosened some restrictions on restaurants, churches and retail operations with an eye to doing more in coming weeks, has called an afternoon press conference to update everyone on how the COVID-19 response is going statewide. Texas Education Agency Commission Mike Morath is scheduled to be there, so something about education is probably on the agenda.
In Houston, the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the health department are bringing free drive-thru COVID-19 testing to the Hobby Airport area and extending operations at their Sunnyside site.
And as their press release stated:
A free mobile test site will open at Daniel Ortiz Middle School, 6767 Telephone Road, from May 5 through May 9. The Sunnyside mobile test site at Worthing High School, 9215 Scott will extend testing through May 9.
Both sites require appointments, obtained by visiting TXCOVIDTEST.ORG or calling 512-883-2400. The sites are open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. or until each reaches its daily capacity of approximately 150 tests. Health care workers at these sites will screen people following the expanded list of symptoms.
The Houston Health Department Mobile Unit will be relocated to the Hiram Clark Multi-Service Center, 3810 W. Fuqua, from May 5 through May 9.Even better, people do not need to have symptoms or appointments to get a free COVID-19 test through the department’s mobile unit, available as a drive-thru or walk-up option.
Mobile unit testing is set for Tuesdays-Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or until reaching daily capacity of 150 tests.
Last week, the mobile until was at the Kashmere Multi-Service Center and will relocate May 12-16 to the Third Ward Multi-Service Center.
People with questions about mobile testing can call the health department’s COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220.
United Memorial Medical Center
United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) will open a new free COVID-19 drive-thru testing site at HCC Southeast Campus, 6815 Rustic. The site will offer tests weekdays from May 7 to May 15.
People seeking a test need to present a photo ID and insurance, if available.
The site does not require people to have symptoms or appointments and opens from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until reaching daily capacity of approximately 250 tests.
UMMC will operate a drive-thru testing site at Barnett Sports Complex until May 6. UMMC works with the Houston Health Department to identify strategic locations for its test sites.
People with questions about UMMC testing sites can call 1-866-333-covid or visit ummcscreening.com.
Houston Health Department Community Based Testing Sites
The department continues operating two free drive-through COVID-19 community-based testing sites. The sites open daily to anyone, regardless of symptoms.
People must call 832-393-4220 to receive an access code and directions to the nearest site. Each site has capacity for 500 tests per day and remains open until capacity is reached.
Houstonians should visit HoustonEmergency.org/covid19 for more information about how and where to get tested, including an interactive map of public and private COVID-19 test sites across Texas provided by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.