EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - In Tyler today, there was a steady stream of people coming to be tested for COVID-19. A similar story in Longview where people lined up in their cars to be tested. The free testing requires an appointment and pre-screening for symptoms. Jenny Wells with the Joint Information Smith County Emergency Operations Center explains why.
"It’s to keep it organized and to make sure there’s enough testing supplies for people. Like I said, they want to make sure that everybody’s exhibiting symptoms if they do get tested,” Wells said.
Once the appointment is scheduled and screening is done, those showing symptoms enter the drive-thru where they’re met by the Texas Army National Guard to guide them before the test.
"You’ll be seeing a medical professional. They’ll be donned in full PPE and they’ll do that test that does go into the nose and touches the back of your throat,” Wells said.
The COVID-19 test is free. Gregg County Commissioner precinct two Darryl Primo says that’s important in order to get testing for everyone who needs it, including those without health insurance.
"It doesn’t do any good just to test people that have insurance. We want to get a handle on who in our community may be having issues with this virus and you can’t do it if you restrict it to people who can pay,” Primo said.
Wells says it’s important to get tested so anyone with symptoms will be able to identify the type of care they may need.
"We’re on the tail end of flu season, so some people may just have the regular flu or it could be something different, so that’s why we want to make sure people are getting tested is because if they have it, they can get the right treatment because it’s different, also we’ve seen this virus takes a quick turn on some people,” Wells said.
Mobile testing sites will be offered on Tuesday, May 12, Wednesday, May 13, and Thursday, May 14 in Tyler at the East Texas State Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Testing will also be offered in Longview at the Gregg County Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12, Wednesday May 13, and Thursday, May 14.
You must register ahead of time at TXCOVIDTEST.ORG or by calling 512-883-2400. You will be screened for symptoms. Tests are conducted by appointment only.
Patients will be screened for the following symptoms:
- Cough (dry or productive)
- Body aches/muscle or joint pain
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
- Loss of taste and/or smell