APH, CommUnityCare encourage alternative COVID-19 testing sites due to high demand

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The demand for COVID-19 tests in Austin-Travis County isn’t matching up with the current supply, according to a release from Austin Public Health and Central Health-affiliated CommUnityCare.

APH and CommUnityCare are encouraging people with health insurance to find alternative options for COVID-19 testing to free up space for people without insurance or doctors.

Last week, Austin Public Health, CommUnityCare and Austin Regional Clinic reported using approximately 11,000 COVID-19 tests. All three organizations say they are working toward solutions on long-term testing plans to ensure they can sustain the higher demand.

KXAN observed long lines of cars at the Hancock Center in central Austin with those lines leading to the CommUnityCare clinic on Monday and Tuesday.

“Testing in Travis County is not keeping up with demand,” said Jaeson Fournier, CommUnityCare CEO. “Our drive-up testing sites open at 6:30 a.m. However, on Monday, we were at capacity before we opened. We want to continue testing those with nowhere else to go, but we simply can’t test everyone.”

CommUnityCare offers free COVID-19 testing to people without insurance or an established provider, but when testing capacity is reached for the day, the site must close. The tests are available without an appointment on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Travis County has other COVID-19 testing resources available to the public. Anyone looking for a test should contact their doctor and insurance company to find a location.

APH says people in Austin-Travis County can get a COVID-19 test at pharmacies, urgent care centers, and other private testing locations. If you have insurance, you should not be charged for a standard COVID-19 test, according to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act.

“We understand that it may be difficult, with Austin Public Health and CommUnityCare sites at capacity every day, to get tested quickly. We are encouraging Austinites with health insurance to go through their doctors and utilize the tests provided at pharmacies and clinics around Austin to ensure that we have capacity for everyone to be tested quickly so we can slow the spread of COVID-19,” APH Interim Health Director Dr. Mark Escott said in the release.

CommUnityCare offers COVID-19 testing free to people without insurance or an established provider, but the site must close when testing capacity is reached for the day, the site must close. Tests are available without an appointment, it is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Anyone can take the APH self-assessment to schedule testing at austintexas.gov/covid19. Anyone without internet access can call the APH nurse hotline for an assessment at 512-972-5560. For more information about CommUnityCare, visit communitycaretx.org.

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