coronavirus

Lack Of Uniform Coronavirus Testing Guidelines Create Confusion

Officials say more tests are on the way but haven't been able to say exactly when more testing will begin or where it will happen

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Local public health officials say more coronavirus tests are on the way to keep up with demand but right now, there is still a lot of confusion about whom to call or where to go, if someone is told they need a test.

This hits home for a lot of North Texans, including Bianca Castro's own grandmother, who was told to get tested, but little else.

Many people are becoming frustrated over attempts to get a coronavirus test. Some say the non-uniform guidelines lead to confusion and different answers from doctors.

Through her glass screen door, Castro's 80-year-old grandmother Amanda tells her in Spanish how she was turned away Wednesday for her monthly immunotherapy infusion because she had recently traveled out of the country.

The clinic told her she had to wait two weeks or go get tested for COVID-19 even though she's not symptomatic, but she said no one told her where to go and whether she would be able to even get a test.

Testing tents have gone up at some hospitals across the area but there are tight restrictions on who can go through them.

Patients must have a referral from a doctor affiliated with the hospital.

That testing is separate from the testing being done at the public health departments.

Those kits are reserved for first responders and other individuals, either in critical roles or in high-risk health conditions, according to Dallas County Health Department officials.

There are tents set up at private clinics, located across DFW, where doctors stand curbside, screening people who drive up. The doctor can decide whether a drive-up patient meets the criteria for a test and administer the test on the spot.

However, there's no clear map that shows where these clinics are located.

"There will be multiple entities doing testing," said Governor Greg Abbott during a press conference Thursday. "The amount of testing being done will be in the range of 15,000 to 20,000 per week."

However, critics say what's also needed are uniform guidelines to help Texans navigate through the multiple entities doing testing.

Dallas County has announced two large testing sites that will be up and running in the coming days.

Other counties, like Tarrant, have set up hotlines to help its residents.

Many patients are being told to call their doctor. As of Thursday evening, Castro's grandmother is still waiting for a callback.

Even if you know where to go, there's still the issue of the shortage of tests.

No public official has been able to say exactly when more testing will begin or where it will happen.

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