Monday afternoon, Parkland Health & Hospital System opened up drive-thru testing testing for COVID-19 . A spokesperson for the hospital said medical providers tested six people on Monday.
The services started at midday according to our news partners at the Dallas Morning News.
The purpose of using a drive-thru method is to keep anyone who is infected away from other people.
Parkland said they have the capacity for 200 tests per day.
Here are the guidelines that are being issued by Parkland for the testing:
- The testing will be by appointment only.
- Testing will be available only for current Parkland patients, first responders and other healthcare workers.
- People will need to be interviewed by phone before they can be tested.
- Patients must have a Parkland doctor's order to get the drive thru-test.
- Hospital approval is required.
Unscheduled patients will not be allowed at the testing facility and Parkland is urging them not to overwhelm the ER or urgent care for testing.
Patients can contact Parkland Hospital's COVID-19 patient line, 214-590-8060.
The Dallas National Latino Law Enforcement Organization tweeted about the testing, which is open for Dallas County first responders, but they have to go through their chain of command before receiving a test from the Parkland drive-thru.
The method is slowly rolling out across the United States and is already in full swing in hot spots like New York. Drive-thru testing is also being implemented in other areas like New Mexico, Colorado and Florida.
The latest news from around North Texas.
How to Avoid COVID-19 Infection:
The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
*Information shared from the Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
Neighborhood Medical Center, located off of the Beltline Road in Addison, is also offering drive-through coronavirus testing. COO Alyssa Mcelya said the center has tested a total of about 130 patients since last week.
Mcelya said anyone can get tested, but to preserve limited resources for testing material, they're following CDC guidelines to rule out both strep throat and flu.
Mceyla said no one has tested positive for coronavirus yet.
"We're seeing a lot of just viruses in general and we're seeing a lot of people just freaking out wanting peace of mind," Mceyla said.
Patient Rachel Adkins was in line Monday. She said she tested negative for the flu but her doctor refused to test her for coronavirus.
"She has other people coming in who are more high risk who have been in direct contact with people so she couldn't give me the test," Adkins explained.
Neighborhood Medical Center is using a private lab called Clinical Pathology Lab which supplies testing materials. Mcelya said they are conducting sputum tests only and don't have access to oral and nasal collections. The tests take 24 to 72 hours to come back.
The group said because they have the option to gather sputum samples, they can conduct many tests as long has they have sterile containers, and they currently have hundreds of them.
Health care officials are asking people to contact their primary care physician if they are feeling any symptoms.
“It’s been a pretty stressful week and a half, we’ve had a lot of influx of patient calls, we’re trying to keep people calm and make sure people are prepared for this pandemic," said Dr. James Pinckney with Diamond Physicians.
He said about 70 percent of his visits are already through telemedicine, but now it's at a hundred percent. He said it was a seamless transition.
"The reason why we went virtual and instituted social distancing was to try and stop viral pandemic , and one of the ways you can stop a pandemic is social distancing, so making sure people are working from home and you're not going to large gatherings," said Dr. Pinckney. “What we’ve done at our office is, we’ve cancelled all of our routines visits, wellness checkups, annual physicals, and have gone 100 percent virtual telemedicine encounters, unless a patient has an acute issue like a laceration repair or they’re having abdominal pain and we need to examine them.”
Pinckney said they've also had to order more personal protective equipment for doctors too.
"We’ve actually run out of masks at Diamond Physicians and we ordered another batch about 2 weeks ago, and we’re waiting for that stock to arrive sometime this week," said Pinckney.
The Theater at Grand Prairie and a parking lot at the American Airlines Center are two locations where drive-through testing is being set up, Dallas County officials said Monday.
Five thousand people will be able to be tested when they open, officials said. More details about the clinics are expected to be available later this week.