Some Wait Hours for Drive-Thru COVID-19 Test

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Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Monday, lines for COVID-19 testing at community-based testing sites are longer than they were last month – pointing to the recent increase in daily case numbers and hospitalizations due to the virus.

“More and more people want to get tests because more and more people are getting sick and having symptoms,” said Jenkins.

Dallas County is asking people to prepare to wait at least two hours at drive-thru testing sites in downtown Dallas and southern Dallas County.

Pete Freedman, co-founder of on-line alternative publication Central Track, documented his experience in a video blog as he waited hours for a COVID-19 test.

Freedman said he pulled into the testing line at Lot E at the American Airlines Center around 10:30 a.m. last Wednesday, explaining he was undergoing the test at the urging of local officials.

“We’ve been covering a lot of protests lately, so as a precaution we’re going to get ourselves tested,” Freedman explained in the video blog.

Freedman captures video of the cars in line in front of him. At the entrance of the garage, where the testing occurred at the AAC, Freedman spotted a sign that warned of a two-hour wait ahead.

“Here’s hoping that was just poor placement on the sign,” he quipped.

During the video, Freedman offers observations and updates.

“We are approaching hour three,” Freedman explains from the driver’s seat of his stopped vehicle.

At one point, he suggests that perhaps the true test was patience.

After just over four and a half hours of waiting, Freedman recorded himself administering the test in his vehicle as a woman in personal protective gear stood outside his car after giving instructions. The actual test took less than a minute.

“Once you’re in line, you’re not going to get out of line after having put the time in,” Freedman told NBC 5 on Monday.

Freedman said he wanted to document the experience, warning people with the means to get a test through private labs or a doctor’s office to consider an alternative.

As of Monday evening, Freedman reported his results from Wednesday’s test were not in yet.

“You want to applaud that these things exist, but you wish that they were perhaps a little more effective,” Freedman said.

Jenkins said four-hour waits are not the norm and the sites are designed to get most people in and out within an hour. Jenkins said he hopes to address long wait times.

“We’ve asked Parkland [Memorial Hospital] and the team out there to take a look at that. We want to try to get people through as quickly as we can,” Jenkins said.

In the meantime, he said people who want a test should consider trying walk-up sites that have reported shorter wait times.

They are at Red Bird Mall at 7222 S. Westmoreland Road in Dallas and the Inspired Vision Compassion Center at 2019 N. Masters Drive in Dallas. The hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

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