Houston is anticipating its first drive-thru COVID-19 testing site to be up and running by the middle of the week, according to Mayor Sylvester Turner.
"We could have several sites," he said. "Between the city and the county, perhaps two to four locations."
Although those locations have not been determined, Turner says first responders and health care workers will be the first to receive the test, which had been log-jammed at the CDC because of the demand for the high-tech kits required to process the samples.
On March 13, private labs and hospitals were able to start conducting their own tests. Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp and Roche are the private labs involved in the testing.
The problem now, Turner said, is protecting the workers who'll be administering the tests in the drive-through operations.
"There's a shortage of personal protection equipment, and you can't have the nurses and staff being exposed to the virus without proper safeguards," he said. "That will be the next problem, and the government should divert production of protective gear, including N-95 face masks, to the increased testing."
After first responders and health professionals on the front lines are tested, at-risk people, including seniors, and those with underlying health conditions will be prioritized, according to information released today by Vice President Pence, who said testing is now available in all 50 states.
Two-thousand labs are also said to be coming online with high speed testing.
Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster as COVID-19 cases climbed and reached into every state.
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