HEALTH

Parkland to begin limited drive-through coronavirus testing today – The Dallas Morning News

Parkland to begin limited drive-through coronavirus testing today – The Dallas Morning News

By LaVendrick Smith and Nic Garcia5:00 AM on Mar 16, 2020 — Updated at 5:02 AM on Mar 16, 2020Drive-through testing for the coronavirus is coming Monday for patients of Parkland Health & Hospital System.Beginning at midday, the testing will be by appointment and only for current Parkland patients, first responders and other health care workers, the hospital said in a written statement.People will need to be interviewed by phone before they can be tested, and they can use the facility only if they have approval from the hospital.The drive-through testing site will help keep anyone who is infected away from other people.It’s unclear how many samples Parkland will be able to gather daily, but Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the county’s lab will be able to test samples from about 270 people a day once the state relaxes its testing guidelines — a move that’s expected this week.Jenkins said he expects the Parkland testing site will be the first of many.“This is hopefully a good start for what will be a rapid expansion of mobile testing,” he said.The hospital said patients must have a Parkland physician’s order to get drive-through testing.“While we hope to expand capacity in the future, this service is only available to current Parkland patients,” hospital officials said.Unscheduled patients will not be allowed at the testing facility, and Parkland also urged them not to go to the emergency room or urgent care emergency center for testing.Patients can contact the hospital’s COVID-19 patient line at 214-590-8060. Details about the location of the drive-through facility were not available Sunday evening.Parkland’s drive-through testing is beginning as other cities have implemented similar programs to test for the new coronavirus.News of the drive-through testing facility came as the county reported three more coronavirus cases Sunday, bringing its total to 14.The new patients are all men — one in his 30s, one in his 50s and one in his 60s.One of them lives in Dallas and another in Coppell. The third resides out of state, according to a Dallas County news release.Two of the men are hospitalized, and the other is self-isolating at a home.Authorities said one of the cases is related to international travel, one is related to domestic travel, and the other is related to cruise travel.Of the 14 total positive coronavirus tests the county has reported, three of the patients live outside the county. Those three cases will not be reflected in the total on the Dallas County Health and Human Services website.On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott declared a “state of disaster” over the virus, and announced the opening of a drive-through testing center in San Antonio.A testing center opened Sunday in Austin, Abbott said, adding that additional ones are coming to Dallas and Houston this week.San Antonio’s drive-through center is only testing first responders, health care workers, operators of critical infrastructure and high-risk patients, he said Friday.Similar centers have opened in places like New York and New Hampshire, Bloomberg reported.In Denver, a drive-through center that opened Wednesday has been overwhelmed by people who want to be tested.The center closed early Saturday after capping a long line of 200 cars, according to The Denver Post.Staff writer Dana Branham contributed to this report.

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