AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Austin-Travis County sees a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases, testing sites are continuing to see high demand, including national pharmacies and local companies that opened as a product of the pandemic.
Here are some options if you need a COVID-19 test in Austin this weekend.
Nomi Health has shifted from the Long Center to the Toney Burger Athletic Complex. That popup, drive-thru testing site is open from Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The site offers both antigen and PCR tests.
Appointments are required for free drive-thru COVID-19 testing on Saturday, Jan. 22. Testing will be limited to 400 appointments, according to the Austin Independent School District. Last weekend the site was forced to close early, because it hit capacity.
You can register for an appointment on the Nomi Health website.
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 confirm 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 Saturday 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,” a Curative spokesperson said.
Tests are available for insured and 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.
Note: The Curative testing site at the Leander Library is now closed because of a change in the building use rules, according to Curative. The closest location to that one is at the Lakeline Mall.
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.
Point of Healthcare Services has hours on the weekend at request, according to its website. You will have to schedule an appointment online.
Tarrytown offers same-day results for ages five and up at three locations. It offers 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.
Tarrytown also said it’s received a number of at-home rapid COVID-19 tests as of Jan. 11, 2021. The pharmacy said there is one test per box, and customers will only be allowed to buy 10 boxes per person.
The tests are available in-store, and there is currently “no guidance or mechanism for Tarrytown Pharmacy to bill insurance.” Single at-home tests in the store are just over $20.
There are also some listed on Tarrytown Pharmacy’s website for $145.
Grand Ave Pharmacy
Grand Avenue Pharmacy has several testing sites in the Austin area, including one that’s almost always open on South Lamar. Testing is done on a first come, first serve basis.
To help deal with traffic issues that pharmacy has moved to the other side of Lamar.
Although an appointment is not needed, you can pre-register on Grand Ave Pharmacy’s website. The website warns it may take up to a week to get PCR results back right now.
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.
Free at-home tests
The government site, COVIDTests.gov, is now online and processing requests for tests. These tests are completely free to order, with tests expected to ship within seven to 12 days.
Available tests are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR tests. All of the tests being shipped are FDA-authorized, but you will not be able to select which brand you receive. The tests give results within 30 minutes and can be used whether or not you have COVID-19 symptoms or are vaccinated.
On the website, the White House recommends taking the at-home test if you begin having COVID-19 symptoms, at least five days after you have close contact with someone with COVID-19 or when you are going to gather with a group of people.