Many public officials and healthcare professionals are continuing to face endless amounts of pressure in terms of testing communities for the COVID-19 virus as the onset of the pandemic continues to grip the world, especially as the overall number of confirmed cases continues to increase and the virus itself continues to spread across the United States of America.

Despite the fact that healthcare providers all across the country are now dealing with a shortage of COVID-19 tests, thanks in large part to a lack of actual testing swabs, the state of Texas is showing to be lagging behind the rest of the country in terms of both containment and prevention. Thanks to this shortage, those who are showing symptoms of the virus are likely to be refused testing, which means that more individuals in the community are likely to have contracted COVID-19 than initially believed.

According to doctors, this lack in testing is partially why self-isolation and social distancing are extremely critical in helping to prevent the spread of the virus. Furthermore, they state that measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 should be the number-one priority for all citizens, especially those who are showing symptoms of the virus. Additionally, healthcare workers should also be favored for testing as well since they are the ones who are in direct contact with the most vulnerable of patients on a daily basis and are also much more likely to be exposed to COVID-19.

In a new update, COVID-19 testing sites are now open to the public in both Harris County and the city of Houston. Here is the most recent information regarding these sites.

*United Memorial Medical Center, which is located at 510 W. Tidwell Road, is one location that offers free COVID-19 testing from 8:00 AM until 8:00 PM Monday through Friday. The testing program will begin by testing those individuals who are of the highest risk of developing the virus. Those who are interested are asked to first register online for a pre-screening test.

*Legacy Community Health is also offering COVID-19 testing at three of their Houston locations and one of their Beaumont locations. According to Legacy, they will only test those who have screened positive for the virus. This means that they will only test those who are experiencing symptoms such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, and other types of respiratory conditions. They will also only test those who are over 65 years of age and/or anyone who has a chronic medical condition. You are not required to call beforehand. All testing is performed on a sliding scale and the clinics will bill insurance companies for anyone who is covered.

*MD Anderson’s Diagnostic Imaging Clinic, which is located in Bellaire, will also offer COVID-19 testing; however, they will only offer testing to current MD Anderson patients and employees who meet certain screening requirements. This will be done by appointment only, and no walk-ins will be permitted.

*My Family Doctor will offer COVID-19 testing at their drive-thru testing facility, which is located at 6430 Hillcroft Avenue, Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM. Those interested in testing are asked not to visit this location unless they have a fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a dry cough. Priorities will be made for older individuals and those who suffer from chronic medical conditions, as well as individuals who are in an immunocompromised state that could put them at a higher risk for poorer outcomes. Additionally, priorities will also be made for those who have come into contact with anyone who is either suspected or confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 within the last 14 days. It is also important to note that the clinic has stated they are unable to process more than 120 vehicles per day and will stop allowing patients to line up for the drive thru as early as 10:00 AM. It is further important to note that at the present time, this testing site is currently accepting only cash and ask that all patients bring $150 for the test in the event that the testing site is somehow unable to verify your health insurance.

*Both Harris County Public Health and the City of Houston will open four testing sites thanks to a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The City’s first location officially opened back on March 20, while two Harris County sites opened over this past weekend in order to test first responders and healthcare workers. Each of these locations are able to test up to 250 people per day. The City of Houston’s first testing site was originally only for healthcare workers and first responders; however, it is now open to symptomatic medical professionals, first responders, individuals aged 65 and older, and individuals of any age who suffer from any type of chronic illness. In order to be tested at a City of Houston site, you will first need to call the Houston Health Department’s COVID-19 call center between 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM in order to be screened over the phone. Once this has been done, you will receive a special identification code, as well as instructions on where you will need to go in order to be tested. Without this code, you will not be able to be tested for COVID-19. In order to be tested at a Harris County site, you will need to access the county’s online tool in order to be screened. Once this has been done, you will receive a special identification code, as well as a phone number to call in order to find out where you will need to go in order to be tested. Without this code, you will not be able to be tested for COVID-19.

Anyone who is showing symptoms related to COVID-19 should immediately contact their healthcare provider. Residents of Harris County who do not have access to healthcare can contact the county’s triage like anytime from 9:00 AM until 7:00 PM with any questions that they may have.