Austin Public Health urges seniors, high-risk groups to sign up for in-home COVID-19 test

Coronavirus

See how it worked for one senior couple...

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Lois Goodman and her husband have been searching for a COVID-19 test.

“I have asthma, and I’m diabetic, which makes me feel vulnerable. So, I just want to be tested to make sure,” she said. “It’s just been a bit frustrating trying to find a test.”

They live in a retirement community in west Austin that offers “continuing care” — from independent living apartments to skilled nursing and memory care.

Governor Greg Abbott ordered Texas nursing homes to test their residents at least once, and many homes have provided more continuous testing for this high-risk group. Meanwhile, testing is not required in independent living communities.

“When I asked, I was told they don’t test residents in independent living,” she explained.

So, she considered going to a public testing site or to a doctor. She said she filled out several different applications, but never heard back.

This week, Austin Public Health officials encouraged vulnerable people who don’t feel comfortable leaving the house or people without access to transportation to take advantage of their free, in-home testing initiative.

“Just call 311. Our folks will get them taken care of, and we have an individual that will come to their home and provide that testing at home,” Stephanie Hayden said.

Since May 1, APH said they’ve administered 336 in-home tests, in partnership with Houston-based company “imaware.”

Goodman set up an appointment for herself and her husband through APH, and she was given an appointment window from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

She noted there was still a wait — the people who came to administer the test arrived mid-afternoon. The actual test only took “10 seconds,” she said.

The couple was told to expect their results in five to seven days. Earlier this week, APH reported results wait times of only two days because the demand for testing has been so low.

APH has partnered with Houston-based “imaware” to administer home tests to more than 300 Austinites. (KXAN Photo/Avery Travis)

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