coronavirus

Dallas County COVID-19 Testing Expands to Grocery Store, Essential Retail Employees

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COVID-19 testing is available in Dallas County to grocery store employees and other essential retail employees regardless of symptoms. County Judge Clay Jenkins announced the expansion Monday for both the Ellis Davis Field House and American Airlines Center testing sites.

One Dallas County grocery store employee is home recovering after she tested positive for the new coronavirus and urged her coworkers to take advantage of the changes.

Marisa Cabello is quarantined alone in her bedroom, away from her two sons and live-in boyfriend.

“They stay in their room and my boyfriend right now is actually staying in the living room because he does not want to come in contact,” she said.

Cabello started to feel symptoms of COVID-19 while on the job at a Fiesta grocery store in Irving.

“I started feeling warmer and then my whole body ached really bad,” she said.

Not long after the symptoms started, her test came back positive.

Cabello described what it’s like to be an essential worker, in contact with countless people daily during a deadly global pandemic. Her position, especially, requires her to be in many different parts of the store throughout the day.

“What we do is keep inventory of everything inside the grocery store,” she said. “And I come in contact with everybody in the store. Clerks, customers, people in the back. It’s just a constant thing.”

Jenkins said expanding testing to more essential workers, regardless of symptoms, makes sense.

“We have had testing without fever and symptoms for first responders and healthcare workers for two weeks,” Jenkins said. “And yet our grocery store workers, they’re seeing more people up in their face every day than a lot of others are who are already getting the testing.”

Cabello has this message for her fellow employees.

“All I can say is no matter what, you have this opportunity to get it, to get it done. Then it’s worth everything to go ahead and get it done.”

And while she’s on the mend and commended the county for expanding availability, she said the thought of going back is unsettling.

“I’m hesitant about going back to work because of what’s happened. I’m even scared to go back when I’m OK and end up getting it again,” she said.

Jenkins said he didn't anticipate getting results that would require shutting down a grocery store. The idea behind expanding to those employees is simply to reduce community spread.

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