As coronavirus cases surge across North Texas, public health departments are expanding testing capacity.
Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said he was expecting an uptick in testing demand over the past few weeks, but the volume has been challenging.
“We were definitely worried heading into the holidays,” Taneja said. “The news from overseas was [omicron] is a very fast spreading variant. So, of course, it’s coming to fruition. The quick spread is causing a lot of concern and pressure everywhere, including at testing sites.”
At the beginning of December, Taneja said the department was running one smaller testing clinic. Now, there are eight sites, with three larger locations that can handle 800 to 1,000 tests per day. The sites “are not full every day,” and the smaller sites have been testing between 80 and 180 people a day.
Denton Public Health Director Matt Richardson has also seen “a dramatic increase in tests” in the community.
“On Dec. 2, we performed six tests,” Richardson said. “By December 30, we’ve been maxing out at 500 tests at every clinic we do, and we’ve been doing four clinics a week now.”
It’s hard to anticipate anything with COVID-19, said Richardson, but he expects cases, hospitalizations and testing demand to continue to increase over the next few weeks. Taneja expects much of the same.
“At the risk of sounding ominous, and that’s not what I’m trying to do, I’m trying to make sure people understand that we are really facing a huge surge of COVID in our community,” Taneja said. “But the month of January is going to be pretty rough for a lot of us because of a lot of cases occurring.”
Both Richardson and Taneja are urging people to get booster shots, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report boosters increase defense against coronavirus variants like omicron.
“I wish I had a creative, an original, a really impactful answer to the question, ‘What should we do?’,” Richardson said. “But the answer remains simple, and it’s oddly controversial: go get your booster.”
Dallas County Health and Human Services also reported the highest daily case number ever recorded on Jan. 6, with more than 6,300 positive cases. The county is opening four new testing sites, in addition to two sites at Dallas College campuses.
To search all of Texas for a COVID-19 testing or vaccination site, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services’ website that compiles both pharmacies and local health centers by region.
Tarrant County Public Health provides PCR testing for COVID-19 at public health clinics and community centers. A full list of sites can be found here, some do require appointments by calling 877-862-4647.
Dallas County recently greenlit four additional COVID-19 PCR testing sites that start the week of Jan. 10. The sites will also offer flu testing. The sites below are appointment only, and appointments can be scheduled by visiting www.mycovidappointment.com
Dallas College North Lake Campus
5001 N McArthur Blvd, Irving, TX 75038
Start date: Monday, January 10
Monday – Thursday 7:30 am – 4:00 pm
Trinity View Park
2221 E State Highway 356, Irving, TX 75060
Start Date: Monday, January 10
Monday – Saturday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center
5150 Mark Trail Way, Dallas, TX 75232
Start date: Tuesday, January 11
Monday – Thursday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fair Park – Lot 13
3809 Grand Ave, Dallas, TX 75210
Start date: Wednesday, January 12
Sunday – Saturday 7:30 am – 4:00 pm
Denton County Public Health is hosting drive-thru COVID-19 PCR testing clinics January 10 through 13. Appointments are available starting at 8:00 a.m. at either location, and can be made online by registering with the department.
Denton County Public Health
535 S. Loop 288, Denton, TX 76205
Dates: Monday, January 10 and Wednesday, January 12
Westside Baptist Church
900 Bellaire Blvd, Lewisville, TX 75067
Dates: Tuesday, January 11 and Thursday, January 13
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