WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TEXAS (KXAN) — Williamson County is taking the next steps in tracing the spread of COVID-19.
Williamson County purchased tests out of its CARES Act fund to provide testing free of charge to anyone, including those not currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
“The registration for people who were displaying symptoms has gone down,” said Cynthia Long, Williamson County Commissioner. “We feel like we’ve gotten through a lot of the people who haven’t already gone to see their health care provider. The healthcare providers are telling us that it spreads with asymptomatic people, as well.”
Commissioner Long spearheaded the effort to extend the areas testing resources. On April 27, the Williamson County Commissioners Court agreed to provide COVID-19 tests and personal protection equipment (PPE) to Family Emergency Room, which will be administering the testing services at no cost to the public.
In talking with the Williamson County and Cities District, the county decided to ramp up testing to better understand how COVID-19 is impacting the region.
“Getting this information to our Williamson County and Cities Health District to analyze the data and see how broad based it is, was our goal with this,” said Commissioner Long.
Williamson County authorized the purchase of 3,500 tests at its April 27 court meeting. The tests cost $100 a piece. So far, the county has purchased 2,000 tests, which the Family Emergency Room clinics have in their hands now.
“The thing I want to point out is that the Family Emergency Room is volunteering their emergency room and their staff to do this,” said Commissioner Long. “They reached out to us and said, how can we help. We call it the Wilco Way.”
“I do think that by allowing asymptomatic people to get tested, we’ll go through those tests pretty quickly,” said Nathaniel Greenwood, Chief Medical Officer for Family Hospital Systems.
Commissioner Long said this testing option isn’t the be-all and end-all testing option.
“Certaintly someone who has symptoms can always go to their own healthcare provider. This is not the only place in the county where people can get testing,” said Commissioner Long.
The test itself is an FDA approved nasal test. Family Emergency Room says its getting results within three days. As this point, people can get re-tested.
“If people start to abuse the system, they’re coming in everyday just to get re-checked, then we will have to not allow that,” said Dr. Greenwood.
Williamson County residents can then be tested at either 3620 East Whitestone Boulevard in Cedar Park or 1925 A.W. Grimes Boulevard in Round Rock.
Residents must go to www.wilco.org/coronavirus to fill out the form first. Schedulers will contact patients Monday through Friday, but appointments are available seven days a week.