Houston expands free drive-thru coronavirus testing to those with chronic illnesses

HOUSTON – Houston’s first free drive-thru testing site will begin to process anyone with chronic illnesses Sunday.

The testing site will only accept those with a unique identification code provided through the screening process. Anyone who shows up without an identification code will be turned away and will not be tested, according to a release from the City of Houston.

Those with chronic illnesses should call the Houston Health Department COVID-19 call center at (832)393-4220 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. for a screening. Chronic illnesses include Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Those who are screened and meet the testing criteria will receive a unique identification code and instructions on where to go for testing.

“The drive-thru sites will augment testing by our local medical providers,” said Dr. David Persse, local health authority for the Houston Health Department. “We recommend people with symptoms first seek COVID-19 testing from their family doctor before seeking screening for a drive-thru site.”

Officials are not identifying testing sites to prevent people from showing up before completing the screening process.

The testing site will collect insurance information but will not collect payment.

The information obtained through testing “will not be used against immigrants in their public charge evaluation,” the release stated.

The Houston Health Department, in partnership with the Harris County Public Health and the local medical community, also announced plans to open three additional testing sites in the coming days, along with an online and updated phone-based screening process, according to the release.

Find more information on Houston’s coronavirus testing site here.

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