Fort Bend County set to launch 1st COVID mega testing site
Fort Bend County is the latest Houston-area community to launch a drive-thru COVID-19 mega testing site. Leaders say the site is a necessity, citing “the exponential increase” in demand by residents for COVID testing because of the rapid spread of the omicron variant.
Texas border communities grapple with dueling crises, COVID-19 pandemic and migrant surge
Several border leaders continue to call on President Joe Biden to pause the release of asylum-seeking migrants into the United States. These calls for help come as many border communities are struggling under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Did you get COVID-19 over the holidays? Harris County advises people to get tested due to potential exposure
HOUSTON – Harris County Public Health is advising residents to get tested due to potential holiday COVID-19 exposure. Heath officials said even if a person visited with family members during the holiday, they should still get tested. Officials said COVID-19 infections from Christmas and New Year’s will begin to show up in the next week or two. Officials said it’s important to get tested as those in the high risk community continue to get the vaccine in efforts to slow the spread. Here is a list of HCPH test sites where you get your results in 3-5 days:Jan. 11 – Jan. 16- M.O.
COVID-19 testing site opening at HCC’s Midtown location Saturday
HOUSTON – A coronavirus testing site is opening at the Midtown location of Houston Community College on Saturday. According to U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston), the site, located at 3000 Main St., will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will provide both drive-thru and walkup testing. No pre-registration is required. Masks will also be distributed at the site.
Health experts hoping to see increased traffic at testing sites after Thanksgiving holiday
KATY, Texas – Health experts are hoping to see increased traffic at testing sites this week now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over. The same data also shows a surge in testing days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. In Harris County, 21,109 people took a test from Nov. 17 through Nov. 30, according to Harris County Public Health. Now, city and county health experts are hoping that the upward trend continues this week. “We do know that the incubation period again for COVID-19 is two to three days,” Dr. Shah said.
Local doctor says people should quarantine, get tested after traveling for Thanksgiving
Dr. Joseph Varon has been working nonstop at The United Medical Hospital for 255 days. He said he and his staff are busy and tired, but they’re treating COVID-19 patients around the clock. Now they’re getting prepared for what Thanksgiving and Black Friday could bring. Varon said people need to quarantine for five days and get tested if they traveled for Thanksgiving and were around large crowds on Black Friday. Varon was seen in a heartbreaking photo comforting a patient in the coronavirus intensive care unit on Thanksgiving is going viral.
COVID-19 tests: These are the Harris County Public Health locations that don’t require insurance, citizenship or residence
HOUSTON – Harris County Public Health is in full force to make sure residents get tested for coronavirus. The Harris County Public Health is also urging residents to obtain their flu shot as soon as possible to avoid a possible spike, according to the release. Testing provided by Harris County Public Health does not require insurance, citizenship, or residence. Campbell Educational CenterAddress: 1865 Aldine Bender, FM 525, HoustonHours: Mon-Fri noon to 7 p.m., Sat. Sun., Nov. 15: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.Katy ParkAddress: 24927 Morton, KatyHours: Mon-Fri Noon - 7 p.m.
Lab to offer at-home, drive-thru COVID-19 testing at several Houston-area Walmarts
HOUSTON – Quest Diagnostics is offering at-home and drive-thru coronavirus testing at several Houston-area Walmarts, the lab announced in a press release this week. The company said it will have more than 500 Walmart locations across the nation, including 41 locations in Texas. Customers can now purchase a test to diagnose COVID-19 online through QuestDirect. You will have two testing options, at-home or at one of Walmart Neighborhood Market drive-thru pharmacy locations. “Accessible, high-quality COVID-19 diagnostic testing is essential to containing the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Jay Wohlgemuth, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Quest Diagnostics.
Free COVID-19 testing schedule for week of August 31
All rights reserved)HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department announced the schedule for more than 20 free COVID-19 testing sites Monday. On average, testing site labs report providing COVID-19 test results to people within four days. “We currently have more testing capacity in Houston than any time during the pandemic but the number of people getting tested continues to decrease,” said. The health department is providing test kits, lab access and equipment to local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) so they can expand their COVID-19 testing capacity. The centers and phone numbers people can call to set up testing appointments are:
2 new testing sites at Sunnyside apartments opening Thursday
HOUSTON – Two apartment-based COVID-19 testing sites in Houston’s Sunnyside will be open to everyone Thursday, officials said. Congressman Al Green will be on-site to launch two free walk-up community testing sites located at Lansborough and Magnolia Place apartments. “It is our hope that senior citizens will get the testing they need,” Congressman Al Green said. “So what we have decided to do is bring the testing sites to the senior citizens.”Everyone is welcomed to come and get tested, regardless of symptoms or referrals. Here is a list of the testing sites and their availability:
EXPLAINED: What caused the huge swing in Texas’ coronavirus positivity rate this month?
HOUSTON – After days of hitting record-high positivity rates in Texas last week, the numbers fell dramatically. State health officials said that fluctuation was caused by problems in data being reported by some labs. On Aug. 7, the seven-day positivity rate hit a record of 19.41%. Lara Anton, of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said that rollercoaster rate was caused by coding errors on data that was being entered by three labs in Texas — Walgreens, Christus Meditech and Quest Diagnostic. “We were first alerted on May 7 there was an issue,” the spokeswoman for Quest said in a written statement.
How many different COVID-19 tests are there?
At the testing center, family nurse practitioner and clinic owner Melissa Herpal offers COVD-19 tests without an appointment for $150. A Certified Nurse Practioner for eight years now, Herpal explains there are two very different COVID-19 tests and you need to know the difference. One of the biggest questions is if you have health insurance, how much should you have to pay for a COVID-19 test? Channel 2 Investigates called a wide range of local clinics for their prices on COVID-19 testing without insurance, and we found a range of costs from just under $80 up to $200. Finally, if you’re strapped for cash, Herpel recommends going to one of the many free COVID-19 testing sites.
New free rapid coronavirus testing site opening in north Houston
HOUSTON A new rapid coronavirus testing site is opening in north Houston on Friday, and its free. The site is located at the North Shepherd Community Clinic at 5012 North Shepherd Drive. Results will be provided at the clinic and will not require people to wait days to determine whether they have coronavirus. The testing site is provided through a partnership between the Ibn Sina Foundation and CVS Health. A map of other testing sites across the Houston area can be found here.
Texas A&M System to provide free COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff
HOUSTON Texas A&M System will provide free COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff at all 11 campuses in Texas, the university system announced Tuesday. Ensuring the health and safety of our students is our top priority, said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. The university encourages students, faculty and staff to get tested if they experience COVID-19 symptoms, or suspect they have been exposed to someone with the virus. To get tested, patients must sign up online, which will be established at each campus. Meanwhile, Texas A&M has created a Return to Campus guide for all students ahead of the Fall 2020 semester.
Houston researchers monitor virus mutations to fight COVID-19 pandemic
HOUSTON – Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine are going far beyond the search for a vaccine. At the beginning of the pandemic, the BCM transformed an academic research lab studying Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in children into one that has direct access to COVID-19 patient samples. Piedra said tracking changes in the virus is key to developing a vaccine that can cover multiple strains of the virus. Researchers are also studying exactly how the virus attacks the body. “You have to follow a person.”Dr. Laura Angelo said studying antibodies also helps researchers understand how the virus is stopped.
Local testing site now using saliva swab for better experience
HOUSTON – A new privately-owned testing site, across from NRG Stadium, is practicing a new technique that will give patients a better experience during testing. Instead of sticking a nasal swab deep into your nose, this test uses the saliva from your mouth. “So, instead of sticking a long swab up your nose, our test uses your saliva. The testing facility promises a far less, uncomfortable, some would say, less painful and stressful test. The company plans to offer this testing to about 2,000 people a day for the next two months.
New COVID-19 testing site offers easier test, but comfort comes at a cost
HOUSTON – A new COVID-19 testing site offering locals a more comfortable test has opened near NRG Stadium. The site located at the old Sams Club on Fannin and the South Loop is giving people the chance to skip the nasal test and go for an easier, saliva-only test. “We recognize that Houston is meeting testing capacity,” said the founder of Bloom Labs, Abbas Khan. It’ll take two to three days to receive the results, but Khan believes they could be more accurate than other tests. COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, everybody needs to be tested, and we’re offering a solution here.”However, while it may be easier on the person, the pocket still takes a hit.
How the demand for more testing across the Houston area is being handled
HOUSTON – With the number of coronavirus cases climbing in the Houston area, more people are getting tested. The high demand for testing is leading to longer lines, and in some cases, some sites are running out of test kits. “We want people to make sure they know that they have to wait for about an hour and a half, 2 hours because there is a lot of demand. So, you have to be patient,” said Porfirio Villarreal, with the Houston Health Department. Houston’s Health Department said test results are back within 3 to 5 days and patients are informed by phone call.
Houston-area SignatureCare centers overwhelmed; patients wait 7 hours to get rapid tests
HOUSTON – Houston-area SignatureCare Emergency Centers are one of the few places where you can get same-day COVID-19 test results. But those centers are overwhelmed with sick patients. The test results come back in 15 minutes, but people have been waiting in line for seven hours to take the test. One of SignatureCare’s managing doctors explains the wait.
Mayor Turner tests negative for COVID-19 after City Council member tests positive
HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tested negative for the coronavirus Thursday, days after City Councilwoman Letitia Plummer tested positive for the virus. Turner along with several council members got tested Tuesday and Turner said he got his test results within 48 hours. “I encourage Houstonians to get tested," Turner said in a written statement. "It is a quick process, and it does not matter if you have symptoms or are asymptomatic. The results will help you take better control of your health during the pandemic.
Lawmakers, Texans call for testing, transparency as COVID-19 threatens Texas nursing homes
Nursing homes are not required to publicly disclose this information. Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which oversees these facilities, will only release raw numbers — 381 nursing homes and assisted living facilities are reporting COVID-19 cases. We reached out to nursing homes across Texas and filled in some of the blanks with reports from our NBC affiliates in Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. Charles Brown is an attorney who specializes in holding negligent nursing homes accountable, but he is pledging not to take and COVID-19 related cases. “We’ve got to have the highest level of medical care which includes testing and reporting the data to know how we continue to handle nursing homes,” Jackson said.
Details on how to test all Texas nursing home residents, staff still being ironed out, officials say
HOUSTON – There are roughly 80,000 nursing home residents in Texas and more than double that in staff, according to officials with the Health and Human Services Commission. Governor Greg Abbott wants everyone in these facilities tested for COVID-19 —but the trick is how exactly to accomplish that feat. “What if several staff test positive and they have to let staff quarantine, who takes their place?” said Linial. Officials with the Harris County Health Department said nursing homes in the area have been testing since the middle of April. He was thrilled to hear the county will test his residents and staff.
Kroger provides free COVID-19 testing sites in Houston, Montgomery areas
HOUSTON – Kroger announced five free COVID-19 testing sites across the Houston and Montgomery areas. Kroger has partnered with the city of Houston, Harris County and Montgomery County to provide free testing for all priority groups, including healthcare workers, first responders and symptomatic groups. “There is a critical need for testing across our city, and it’s important that we step up to meet that need,” said Joe Kelley, president of Kroger Houston. “The residents of Montgomery County are in need of this critical testing, and Kroger has always been a valued partner in Montgomery County. Houston Health Department and partner agencies set up four free COVID-19 test sites in vulnerable communities.
Nasal swabs or saliva testing? Local medical facility conducts study to determine which is more effective.
HOUSTON – BreatheMD is offering free testing for several dozen people as part of a study to see whether nasal swabs or saliva testing, which consists of spitting into a cup, is more effective. BreatheMD has teamed up with Microgen Diagnostics a lab and research facility to conduct the testing. “Part of our study is to gain more data comparing the swab to the saliva but so far the data shows the saliva is favorable,” Bowden said. Bowden said once the study is completed, BreatheMD will continue to offer testing but it will cost patients $200. BreatheMD said it has offered testing since March 13 and have tested 600 people so far.
This is why it is so difficult to get free coronavirus testing in Montgomery County
HOUSTON – The Montgomery County Public Health District sent out some information regarding coronavirus testing in the county and why it is not free. We first went through the Montgomery County Health District, we did order a thousand to date we received 14. Reasons for the costIn order to get test kits, Montgomery County said it has to source them internationally, and those can cost between $30 to $60 per kit. “We know this is frustrating for residents of Montgomery County, and we share your frustration,” county officials said. For more information about the Montgomery County Public Health District visit www.mcphd-tx.org.
Richmond mother pleads for better testing for essential workers after son tests for COVID-19
RICHMOND, Texas – A Richmond mother, who has been in a 14-day quarantine with her 22-year-old son says she is adamant that all essential workers should be tested for COVID-19. “Was very concerned about that and I said let’s get you tested before go you back to work,” Cotton said. Cotton’s son worked at a fast food drive-thru window just four days before his COVID-19 test came back positive. As a nurse practitioner, Cotton knew that as soon as he showed symptoms, he should not be at work and she took action. Cotton said that she went to three different healthcare providers attempting to get her son tested.
Local leaders push to test more seniors amid coronavirus pandemic
HOUSTON – Seniors are some of the most vulnerable when it comes to catching Coronavirus. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said she is working to make sure those seniors who can’t make it to a testing site but wanted to get tested, have the means to do so. “We’re now looking at and will announce soon our mobile units to go to where senior citizens are,” Lee said. The testing would occur either at the request of a facility where seniors live or by designated facilities that have seniors who may symptoms. At the north Houston testing site, 750 people have been tested since they opened last week.
This is how Harris County Public Health drive-thru coronavirus testing will run
HARRIS COUNTY – Harris County Public Health has two testing sites in undisclosed county locations. “If we don’t protect them, who is going to protect us?” said Harris County Public Health director Mac McClendon. This is how Harris County testing will workAll staff members will be geared up. “We put our mask on and then we put our face shield to protect from any sneezes and coughs,” said nurse Harriet Lewis with the Harris County Public Health in a demonstration with the media. You don’t need to be tested.”For more information: visit the Harris County Public Health site at www.publichealth.harriscountytx.gov.
Texas company makes at-home COVID-19 test, available Monday
Everlywell, an Austin-based digital health company, is providing an at-home collection kit with telehealth diagnosis for COVID-19 that will become available Monday, March 23. In a statement, the company announced it will be able to provide an initial supply of 30,000 tests. Prices for Everlywell at-home test kits typically range from $39 for an HIV test to $399 for a Women’s Health test. The COVID-19 at-home test will be available for $135 at no profit to Everlywell. According to a report by USA Today, it is the founder’s goal to offer the diagnosis test for COVID-19 at no cost.
How genetic testing helped one family fight cancer
How genetic testing helped one family fight cancer Knowing your family history can be critical when it comes to assessing your cancer risk. CBS News Correspondent Bigad Shaban shows us how one family used that knowledge to make some serious medical choices.cbsnews.com