Jason Stephens | June 18, 2020 | News
As the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Texas continues to increase, Governor Abbott called for expanding COVID-19 testing statewide. Several specific areas would be included in expanded testing, such as all state-supported living facilities and hospitals. Underserved communities would also receive expanded COVID-19 testing.
Coronavirus Testing in Minority and Underserved Communities
The Governor announced that the TDEM (Texas Division of Emergency Management) would work with local offices to implement and expand testing in minority and underserved communities. The TDEM works with the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force, and the Texas Military Department, to increase testing where needed to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Gov. Abbott stated that the state is committed to ensuring that every Texan has access to testing for COVID-19 regardless of where they live. Additionally, the Governor said that the state must address the disproportionate impact that the virus has had on minority communities and underserved communities throughout the state.
Therefore, the TDEM is coordinating with local officials in towns and cities across the state to identify needs and expand COIVD-19 testing. You can search online for a COVID-19 testing site near you. The website updates as new sites open throughout Texas.
New COVID-19 Test Site in Fort Worth
South Fort Worth has a new coronavirus test site. Mercy Clinic is partnering with CVS Health to offer rapid COVID-19 testing at is South Fort Worth Clinic. Licensed health care providers from the CVS Minute Clinic and CVS Pharmacy colleagues staff the testing facility.
The Mercy Clinic is in Fort Worth at 785 West Bowie Street. It is open to the public by appointment only. Patients are required to pre-register to obtain an appointment time.
You can call 817-840-3501 to schedule an appointment. However, patients must meet age requirements and the criteria for COVID-19 testing established by the CDC. There is no cost for the test.
What are the CDC Criteria for COVID-19 Testing?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have established criteria for COVID-19 testing. The criteria for coronavirus testing have been developed based on what health officials know about the virus. The criteria are subject to change as officials learn more about the virus.
The CDC advises clinicians to use their own judgment to determine if a person needs a COVID-19 test based on the patient’s symptoms. However, the CDC has two levels of priority for COVID-19 testing.
High priority for coronavirus testing is given to people who:
- Are hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms;
- Healthcare facility workers, first responders, and workers in congregate living facilities who have symptoms; and,
- Residents in shelters, prisons, long-term care facilities, and other congregate living who display COVID-19 symptoms.
Priority for coronavirus testing is given to people who:
- Have symptoms indicating a potential coronavirus infection; or,
- Are prioritized by medical providers or health departments for any reason, such as public health monitoring or screening of asymptomatic individuals.
The symptoms of COVID-19 may be revised as health officials continue to learn more about the virus. At the time of this article, the CDC listed the symptoms of COVID-19 for priority testing as vomiting, chills, fever, muscle pain, cough, diarrhea, new loss of smell or taste, sore throat, and shortness of breath. People do not need to have all symptoms to test positive for COVID-19.
How can You Protect Yourself and Your Family From COVID-19?
Continuing to follow the CDC guidelines and the guidelines provided by state and local health officials is one of the best ways to protect against the virus.
Steps that everyone can take to slow the spread of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:
- Stay home if you are sick. If possible, self-quarantine or limit contact with others living with you.
- Keep your hands clean. Use hand sanitizers when you cannot wash your hands. Use soap and water for 20 seconds to wash hands often throughout the day.
- Disinfect and cleanse areas frequently, especially high-contact areas and objects.
- Maintain a safe distance from others when you are outside of your home. Social distancing of six feet whenever possible.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or towel that you can immediately throw away.
- If you become ill, contact your medical provider immediately for instructions.
- Follow CDC guidelines for wearing masks whenever you leave home.
- Avoid gathering in groups.
- Try to avoid crowded areas and mass gatherings.
- Work from home whenever possible.
Working together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19.
In some cases, you may contract coronavirus while at work. In those cases, you may need a workers’ compensation lawyer during the outbreak. You can get the legal advice you need while remaining safely in your home.