Rapid COVID-19 tests coming to some east Texas businesses

Rapid COVID-19 tests coming to some east Texas businesses
The Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce is working with the Texas Division of Emergency Management to distribute rapid COVID-19 tests for free. (Source: Tim Huff)

EAST TEXAS (KSLA) - The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is working to protect public health during the coronavirus pandemic by making sure businesses have access to rapid COVID-19 tests — free of charge.

With the help of chambers of commerce across Texas, TDEM is funding the distribution of Abbott’s BinaxNOW rapid COVID test, which can garner results in 15 minutes and is over 90 percent accurate.

Tim Huff, who is on the Board of Directors for the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce, said his phone has been ringing incessantly with businesses wanting a share of these tests.

“My phone has been blowing up, it really has,” Huff said. “Instead of sending someone out to be tested and pay for it, they can be trained on how to do these tests in their office...and not cost them a dime.”

Huff said businesses in Harrison County must belong to the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce to access these COVID tests. Employees are also required to undergo training on how the test functions.

“What we’re having to do is go online, take a course, take a test, just to get certified to do this,” Huff explained. “Each test result still has to be logged with the state, each test is being tracked everywhere it goes.”

With results available in minutes, Huff believes these tests will give participating businesses peace of mind knowing employees aren’t inadvertently spreading the virus.

“If you’ve got someone you think may be positive, you can test them in your office,” Huff said. “Now, instead of exposing everyone to a possible positive, you can find out for sure.”

Since businesses don’t have to pay for testing out of their own pockets, Huff is hoping money will ultimately be saved.

“If you’re sending four or five people to get tested, on the low end $80 at a time, you’re saving hundreds of dollars just by being a member of our chamber of commerce and having access to these tests.”

Harrison County businesses can join the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce by calling (903) 935-7868.

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