The city of DeSoto, with the help of the Texas National Guard, set up a mobile testing site Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For the last several days the city opened up registration to the public to get free testing at Meadow Creek Park.
"There are 200 slots available and we put them online so if someone wanted to make an appointment very quickly all 200 appointments were taken up," DeSoto fire Chief Jerry Duffield said.
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He said the department had to place digital signs around the park to prevent people from driving up.
Duffield said testing was conducted by Texas National Guard and facilitated by the Texas Department of Emergency Management.
"I was made aware of it by our regional Texas Emergency Management Office in Garland and they reached out to us and said, ‘Hey it’s available if you'd like it,' Duffield said.
He then reached out to city leaders and got the ball moving.
"They're conducting 200 tests today, that's free of charge to our citizens, free of charge to the city of DeSoto, that's being funded by the state of Texas under Governor Abbott's mandate to get more testing done," Duffield said.
He said in the region there were 15 teams through the Texas National Guard running and conducting the tests.
“These young men and women from our Texas National Guard are great Texans and they’ve been given orders for the summertime, instead of being home for the summertime with their families, they’re out here testing us, and have done a great job, very professional very smooth operation," Duffield said.
He said he believed more testing was key to flattening the curve and thought it helped DeSoto.
"We were actually the worst zip code in the Dallas area (in regards to the amount of COVID-19 cases) at one time, but now we’re down at the very bottom at the lower echelon," Duffield said. “We’ve simply pushed folks in DeSoto to get tested as soon as they could get tested, I’m very proud of that fact.”
Duffield, who is also the branch manger at the Ellis Davis drive-thru facility in Dallas, said he believes people are taking testing very seriously, judging by the number of people who have already signed up to get tested.
He said at Ellis Davis Field House, which is a federally funded site, they're upping testing to 1,000 per day.
"Right now we do 600 (tests) a day roughly, and by 3:30 in the morning people are lining up, by 9 o’clock, 9:30, our slots are full. So I think people in the south Dallas area, DeSoto, Lancaster area, I think they’re taking the testing very seriously, they’re taking COVID-19 very seriously, and it’s a great thing to be tested and I am very proud my community’s response," Duffield said.
The city of Dallas and Dallas County announced Tuesday that testing at the American Airlines Center would come to an end June 30, but after July 1 there would be a new testing site at the University of Dallas in Irving.
“We are moving the AAC drive-thru site to the University of Dallas on Wednesday. Dallas County Health and Human Services will supervise a private vendor with a new lab so the turnaround for results should be faster. Faster results give you the chance to make the best decisions for your health and gives our public health experts more timely information to better advise the community,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement.
Other sites include:
- Walmart: Mon, Wed, Fri 7 a.m. - 9 a.m.
- (951 W Belt Line Rd, Desoto, TX 75115)
- Curtistine S. McCowan Middle School
- (1500 Majestic Meadows Dr., Glenn Heights, TX 75154)
- Opens on July 1st at 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Click here to register
Tracking COVID-19 Cases in North Texas Counties
NBC 5 is tracking the number of COVID-19 related cases, recoveries and deaths in North Texas counties. Choose a county and click on a city or town to see how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting your area.
Cases are cumulative by day and are subject to change, dependent on each county health department's reporting schedule and methodology. Data may be reported county-wide, by city or town, or not at all. Cases, recoveries and death counts in 'unspecified' categories are used as placeholders and reassigned by their respective counties at a later date.
Data: County Health Departments, NBC 5 Staff
NBC 5's Sophia Beausoleil contributed to this report.