AUSTIN (KXAN) — After people traveled and gathered for the holidays, many are looking for COVID-19 tests heading into the new year. Health leaders are asking people to test before and after traveling out of Austin.
It seems folks are responding. Multiple companies told KXAN they’re seeing a surge in testing demand, including national pharmacies and local companies who opened as a product of the pandemic. Here are some options if you need a COVID-19 test heading into the new year.
Nomi Health is hosting a drive-thru, popup testing site at the Long Center, located at 701 W. Riverside Dr. every day this week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The company said test results will be available within 15 minutes via text message directly to the patient for antigen tests and 24 to 48 hours for PCR tests.
“When we began to hear about the lack of at-home COVID tests available in Austin, coupled with increased demand, we assembled a team as fast as we could to provide an opportunity for testing that was convenient and accessible for everyone,” said Jaclynn Fuller, Texas Field Operations Director at Nomi Health.
The site was originally only scheduled to be open through Tuesday but because of increased demand will be open through Friday 12/31.
As with all sites, you’ll need to practice some patience. Even people who showed up more than an hour before the site opened said they had to wait hours to finally get a test.
Austin Public Health
You can schedule a test through Austin Public Health online for various sites around the county. An appointment isn’t required, but it will save time on site and confirms test availability for that day. You can also call 311 to schedule a test. Services are free at all APH testing sites.
The George Morales Dove Springs Rec Center serves as a walk-in site. It’s located at 5801 Ainez Dr. and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Travis County Expo Center located at 7311 Decker Ln. is a drive-thru site that’s open from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We’re seeing testing demand increasing, we’re seeing test kits being hard to come by in the commercial space,” said Janet Pichette, APH chief epidemiologist, in a media Q&A heading into the holidays.
More information on in-home testing is available on the APH website here.
Curative has COVID-19 testing kiosks and mobile sites set up throughout the Austin area. Just head to its website and choose the location you want to book your appointment.
Each location listed on the website will tell you what kind of test is offered — largely PCR tests.
“Every week, we take a random sample of roughly 750 positive tests from across our sites and sequence them in our labs to determine what variant it came from, and the COVID-19 tests we use at our sites can detect the omicron variant,” said a Curative spokesperson.
Tests are available for insured an uninsured patients at no out-of-pocket cost. Make sure to bring your ID and insurance card (if you have one) to your appointment. Results are received in about one to two days.
Point of Care Health Services
Point of Care Health Services located at MoPac and Far West Boulevard offers both rapid PCR and rapid antigen testing through its mobile unit. Test results come through in as little as 15 to 30 minutes, according to its website.
There was such high demand, Point of Care Health Services closed Tuesday because they ran out of tests, but say it got another shipment and will be back open Wednesday. You will have to schedule an appointment online.
CEO Wendy Garner said they were getting roughly 30 positive tests a day last week, which is up about 20% from what they normally see. On Monday, they had 54 people test positive.
Tarrytown offers same-day results for ages five and up at three locations. They offer both PCR-NAAT tests as well as rapid PCR tests. You will need to book an appointment online. These tests do come with a price, though, and it’s non-refundable. It’s your responsibility to submit paperwork to your insurance company for billing, Tarrytown said on its website.
Walgreens pharmacy locations offer free drive-thru COVID-19 testing for ages three and up. You can start scheduling your test at one of its pharmacies online.
CVS and its Minute Clinic locations also offer testing at no cost to you. You can find a location and book an appointment on its website.
The type of test you will be taking, whether that be a PCR test, a rapid diagnostic test or a rapid antigen test, will be listed as you book your appointment. In the Austin-Travis County area, many of those tests are booked for days out.
Once you get to your testing location, you will stay in your car with the windows rolled up. You’ll show your confirmation email, a valid ID and an insurance card, if you have one. A pharmacy team member will then direct you to perform a nasal swab on yourself. Children will need a parent or legal guardian present while they self-administer the test, according to the Walgreens website.
Results times will vary, depending on which test you take and where your sample is tested at.
Total Men’s Primary Care
According to its website, the provider said anyone can walk in for a COVID-19 test — no appointment needed. However, it offers antibody and antigen rapid testing, not PCR.