AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) launched a new tool Wednesday to help increase testing capacity, as the state broke another daily record Wednesday of COVID-19 cases.
According to Austin Public Health (APH), it is offering free COVID-19 testing, but due to an overwhelming demand, appointments may not be available until up to one – two weeks after the assessment is taken.
Due to this backlog, APH is encouraging individuals to self- isolate if they are symptomatic or as soon as the decision is made to get a COVID-19 test.
The overwhelming demand is causing delays at some local hospitals and clinics around Central Texas. For some Austinites, they are waiting up to two weeks for their results.
“I went on June 15 to CommUnityCare Center in Austin at the Hancock Center and they said it would take three to five days. I went with my roommate, she was in my car, so we got tested at the same time, but it took me 10 days to retrieve the results myself,” said Gaby B. (who did not want to use her full name).
That wait time resulted in time off of work and a delay in her daily workflow.
“I had a huge project we were working on and it pretty much got delayed because I couldn’t do anything from home,” said Gaby B.
APH and CommUnityCare sites are at capacity every day and the city is encouraging people with health insurance to go through their doctors or local pharmacies, according to APH.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) launched the Curative tests on Wednesday to increase capacity. It is an oral swab that is available at some of TDEM’s mobile testing sites.
Seth Christensen, a spokesperson for the agency, tells KXAN that the Curative test increases the state’s testing capacity by 25,000 tests a day. A map on Texas.gov shows you where you can get the tests. State mobile testing sites are marked with a green bus icon.
TDEM says the nasal swab tests will still be available. For the average person, the agency believes, the oral swab will be less painful. The results will continue to come within two to three days.
There are more than 900 locations across the state to receive a COVID-19 test and a majority of these are private sector sites. Christensen told KXAN there were 36 active state operated sites Wednesday performing the Curative tests.
Everyone can qualify for the state mobile test sites and there is no symptom/payment requirement, according to Christensen. He urges everyone to check the requirements for all the private sector sites as those differ by location.