New mass testing site for COVID-19 launches in Austin amid omicron surge

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new mass testing site for COVID-19 in Austin opened for the first time Saturday as cases of the virus continue to hit record highs.

Nomi Health began operating its new testing location on Saturday morning at the Toney Burger Activity Center and Stadium.

The health care company spent eight days testing people at the Long Center – which saw enormous demand amid the rocketing number of cases.

But Nomi Health said the Long Center could no longer accommodate the testing site due to the facility’s events schedule.

“We’re seeing, that initial spike up, we’ve actually seen it stay pretty consistent,” said Nomi Health co-founder Boe Hartman.

He said they’ve had to bring in extra help across state lines to keep up.

“Across Texas, we’ve had to fly in for different teams to help strike,” he said.

Nomi Health said conversations with the Austin Independent School District lead to the new site, which would be “long term.”

  • Starting Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, Nomi Health will offer antigen and PCR tests to drive-thru patients at Toney Burger Athletic Complex. (KXAN Photo)
  • Starting Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, Nomi Health will offer antigen and PCR tests to drive-thru patients at Toney Burger Athletic Complex. (KXAN Photo)
  • Starting Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, Nomi Health will offer antigen and PCR tests to drive-thru patients at Toney Burger Athletic Complex. (KXAN Photo)
  • Starting Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, Nomi Health will offer antigen and PCR tests to drive-thru patients at Toney Burger Athletic Complex. (KXAN Photo)
  • Starting Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, Nomi Health will offer antigen and PCR tests to drive-thru patients at Toney Burger Athletic Complex. (KXAN Photo)
  • Healthcare company Nomi Health's new COVID-19 testing site at the Toney Burger Center

Nomi Health said it would be able to test more than 1,000 people per day at the Burger Activity Center, with four drive-up lanes.

They said antigen tests are texted to people within an hour, and PCR tests should be emailed within 24 to 48 hours.

“Lab capacity across the United States is challenged,” Hartman said. “We’re actually putting measures in place to actually bring that back down into our 24-hour, sub-48-hour time frame.”

Austin Public Health reports the COVID-19 community transmission rate is high, with a nearly 30% positivity rate. The authority moved the community into Stage 5 risked-based guidelines Thursday, encouraging everyone to mask up, regardless of vaccination status.

Updated projections from researchers at the University of Texas at Austin indicate the nation could be hitting our peak of COVID-19 cases over the next few days.

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