HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department laboratory announced Wednesday that it will now conduct COVID-19 testing for cases that meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing criteria.
Among the first cases tested in Houston, was the Fort Bend County man who tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Fort Bend County Health officials. The test results are considered a “presumptive positive,” and are being sent to the CDC lab in Atlanta for confirmation.
Results from specimens collected by medical providers from suspected cases are expected to arrive in Houston for testing within 24 hours.
“The city of Houston is monitoring information about COVID-19 and is responding to the public health threat. I am gratified the CDC has approved local COVID-19 testing in our Houston Health Department lab,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Local testing capacity is an important step in speeding up the testing process so that we can have the information needed to respond quickly and efficiently should COVID-19 reach our community.”
Currently, the Houston Health Department lab has one testing kit with the capacity to test approximately 350 patients. If a test comes back positive, that test would be sent to the CDC lab for further confirmation, but local testing is considered actionable.
The CDC said it will send more testing kits if needed.