A Look Inside a Dallas Testing Lab for COVID-19

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While there are no confirmed cases in North Texas, local counties are making sure they're ready for the coronavirus outbreak to hit here. NBC 5 got an inside look at how Dallas county will test for the virus. 

On Thursday, Governor Gregg Abbott announced there are now a total of ten labs throughout the state identified as testing sites.

The ten labs are located in Lubbock, Fort Worth, Dallas, Tyler, El Paso, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Harlingen.

Daniel Serinaldi works inside the lab at the Dallas County Health and Human Services department. He’s on the front lines when it comes to dangerous viruses. He has been for years.

“I feel like I’m doing something that makes an impact,” said Serinaldi. “We worked with the Ebola cases in 2014. We did the zika emergence. We covered the 2012 West Nile virus outbreak, and the 2009 H1N1.”

Now, he oversees testing for COVID-19, known at the Coronavirus.

Inside a lab at the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services, Serinaldi and other experts are going through the meticulous steps of testing patient samples.

“I think it has the potential in the community to gain a foothold which is what we’re concerned with,” he said.

This Dallas lab is one of ten throughout the state of Texas classified as a testing site. Governor Greg Abbott says six of the 10, including Dallas and Fort Worth, are already performing tests.

The remaining four will start by the end of the month.

“Houston and El Paso can perform tests for approximately 15 people per day. Dallas and Lubbock can perform tests on approximately 10 patients per day,” said Abbott.

There are more than 92,000 cases of Coronavirus worldwide. More than a dozen in Texas.

No confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in Dallas or Tarrant Counties as of now, but Serinaldi said he’s confident this lab is prepared to handle whatever happens.

“It’ll take about three to four hours to get a result from a sample depending on how many samples we’re receiving at a time,” he said. “We really want to be able to push the limits and get it done, but we want to do it right and we want to serve the public in a way that is befitting of their health.”

Governor Abbott says once all labs are up and running, the public lab network is expected to be able to process more than 125 test samples per day.

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