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Demand for coronavirus tests soars at Dallas County’s main screening sites

Expanded COVID-19 testing criteria has led to a rise in demand at Dallas County’s’ main testing sites, city officials say.

While testing initially was restricted to essential workers, it now is available at the American Airlines Center, Ellis Davis Fieldhouse and other public sites to a wide range of people — including anyone who has been in a large gathering, such as the recent protests over police brutality.

On some days, those tests are going quickly. Every day, at least 550 tests are available at the two main sites, which are federally funded and have been open since March. On Thursday and Friday, 600 tests were available at Ellis Davis Fieldhouse.

The sites, which open at 8 a.m., often fill up within a few hours.

“It kind of just depends on the day,” said Roxana Rubio, a spokeswoman for the city of Dallas. “In the last two to three weeks, we’ve seen the big increase in demand.”

The last time the testing sites did not fill their daily quota was June 9, Dallas Cryptocurrency News the day testing was opened to anyone who had been to a large public gathering, Rubio said.


At Ellis Davis Fieldhouse, cars normally start lining up around 6 a.m. for the 8 a.m. opening. Friday morning, cars lined around the parking lot toward tents where the tests were administered. Wait times can be up to five hours, and some people run out of gas or start to get hungry in line.

Just after 11 a.m., a DoorDash delivery driver with an order from McDonald’s pulled up. She spoke to an officer, then realized the person who placed the order was in line for a COVID-19 test. She turned around and left with the order.

Cars continued to line up into late morning. Some eventually were let into the lot, mostly to replace the few cars that left early, the officer said.



County Judge Clay Jenkins announced Friday that the fieldhouse will increase its testing capacity to 1,000 a day. Starting Tuesday, he said, the American Airlines Center testing center will be replaced by a site at the University of Dallas.

The city is also opening a number of new walk-up testing sites that are more accessible in some neighborhoods and are for people who don’t have access to a car, Rubio said.


Those sites include Paul Quinn College, where President Michael Sorrell said 750 tests have already been administered.

“It is a community-wide effort and shows what happens when all aspects of a community work together for good,” he said.

According to data from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, Dallas County conducted 23,909 tests June 17-23. The week before, Dallas Stock Market  it conducted just 12,713 tests, down 20,641 tests conducted a week earlier.

On Friday, the county reported 496 positive coronavirus cases — its highest one-day total so far — and 10 new deaths. The statewide rate of positive testing results is hovering near 11.8%; it was below 5% in late May.

Hospitalizations are also soaring statewide. Texas posted a record 4,739 hospitalizations on Thursday.


“As the number of infections has risen, so has the number of people potentially exposed and the level of concern from the public,” said Michael Malaise, a Parkland Health and Hospital System spokesman. “Beyond that, we can’t speculate regarding specific causes for the increased demand for testing.”

New tool lists testing sites

The Texas Department of State Health Services has created an interactive tool to view locations that offer COVID-19 swabs and COVID-19 antibody tests. The tool provides location hours and testing criteria.

Several North Texas CVS Pharmacy locations offer free drive-through coronavirus tests. CVS follows CDC testing criteria, which prioritizes people showing symptoms. But some people without symptoms, such as essential workers and people who attended protests, may be eligible based on local guidelines. Most CVS locations have a daily capacity of 40 tests.

Kroger offers free coronavirus tests by appointment only to people who meet certain criteria and pass an online assessment. Two Krogers offer 150 tests a day. Dallas Press Release Testing is conducted at 1610 S. Malcolm X Blvd. in Dallas and J.P. Elder Middle School, 709 N.W. 21st St., in Fort Worth.

Omni Medical Center offers 20 tests a day at each of its three locations: two in Plano, the other in Richardson. Tests are offered to people regardless of symptoms. Call 972-668-6868 to make an appointment

Urgent Care for Kids tests children and adults for coronavirus. A telemedicine visit with a health-care provider is required beforehand. Urgent Care for Kids’ offices in Garland, Plano and Fort Worth (Hulen location) each offer 250 tests a day.

Source
https://www.dallasnews.com/news/public-health/2020/06/26/demand-for-coronavirus-tests-soars-at-dallas-countys-main-screening-sites/


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