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16 COVID-19 tests given today at local center

Drive-through COVID-19 testing began today
Posted at 5:14 PM, Mar 19, 2020

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Drive-thru screening for COVID-19 started today here in Corpus Christi.

There is a catch -- testing is by appointment only -- you cannot just drive over and ask to be tested.

“Not anybody is able to come at this point, but if you meet the criteria and you have the symptoms and the health authority deems it appropriate, then this is a free, safe, very efficient way to be tested.” Nueces County Judge, Barbara Canales said.

The last test for the day happened right around 10:30 a.m. There were a total of 16 tests given this morning.

Here's how the process works.

Individuals who suspect they have symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to call the health district and an assessment will be made over the phone.

Then, if they meet the CDC criteria for testing, they'll be scheduled an appointment at the drive-thru screening center. Cars entered the hospital parking lot off Buford St.

“They have a number and they have to show their ID and that number. Again, there’s different checkpoints along the way to make sure the right patient is being seen at the right time.”

Patients pull up under an awning in front of the hospital. That's where health professionals collect swabs.

"Most likely, they volunteered for this job. Christus Spohn has their staff basically in charge." Canales said. "And they’re just amazing people who are very good at swabbing."

There are trucks parked in front of the testing site to provide privacy for patients.

“I don’t see any waiting at all but if you came early, you could have possible waited but it seems very quick. Five to Seven minutes apart." Canales said.

"Nobody ever gets out of their car,” Canales said. “And the only time that window is rolled down is when a health care provider who is properly trained, wearing proper equipment instructs you roll down your window, get the swab and then you go."

The tests will be sent to Austin and results typically take three days. Canales said very soon Corpus Christi will have our own result lab up and running.

Again, residents are asked not to visit the location without an appointment.