UPDATE 3/23/2020: Starting at 12 noon on Monday, March 23, the two COVID-19 testing sites in Dallas have lifted the age restriction to test more North Texans. Originally restricted to first responders, the criteria has been broadened to accommodate nearly anyone, and the list below has been updated to reflect the new loosened restrictions.
UPDATE 3/24/2020: The total capacity for testing is up to 5,000 per week, not per day.
With the COVID-19 tally climbing daily, Dallas has opened two drive-thru sites to test for for the virus. The tests have been provided to Dallas County by the federal government.
They'll be limited to first responders, health care workers, and others on the front line.
The sites are at these locations:
- American Airlines Center, at 2500 Victory Plaza, opened on March 21.
- Ellis Davis Field House at 9191 S. Polk St. opened on March 22.
Both locations are open daily from 8 am-8 pm. According to a release from the city of Dallas, they have the capability to test nearly 5,000 people
each day per week.
Not everyone who wants a test gets one. Restrictions on who can take the test are as follows:
- Shortness of breath
- Must show a temperature of 99.6 or higher
Anyone not meeting the criteria above should contact their healthcare provider.
Workers in protective gear take your temperature while you're still in your car, then insert a swab into your nostrils which are sent to a lab. Results come back in three days.
Other test sites currently open include public health labs, private clinics, and hospitals. A doctor has to sign off on whether a patient qualifies, using guidelines from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There's also a location at Parkland Hospital, which is by appointment only for current Parkland patients who meet the criteria with a Parkland doctor's approval, and for first responders and health care workers.
Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough, chest pain, or shortness of breath, and may appear in as soon as two or up to 14 days after exposure.
San Antonio, Austin, and Houston have all set up testing sites.
Austin startup Everlywell is also rolling out a new at-home test beginning March 23. The company says that 30,000 tests will be available in the initial batch.
Testing is considered by the World Health Organization as vitally important, both in treating individuals with the virus and also in tracking and isolating its location.