COVID-19 testing and coronavirus update for the Katy area

By R. Hans Miller | Times Senior Reporter
Posted 4/23/20

Harris County Public Health has announced a redesign of its online COVID-19 prescreening tool which went live this morning. The announcement refers those looking for a test to visit …

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COVID-19 testing and coronavirus update for the Katy area


Harris County Public Health has announced a redesign of its online COVID-19 prescreening tool which went live this morning. The announcement refers those looking for a test to visit to complete a prescreen in order to get an appointment to get tested.

“The updated online self-assessment tool is confidential and designed to serve the public in the Greater Houston area in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus guidelines. People who do not have access to the online tool can call 832-927-7575 to get tested,” the statement read.

While testing in Harris and Fort Bend counties is available to anyone, testing of first responders and those with symptoms is still being prioritized.

Harris County is currently operating four sites across the county including one in Katy, one in Baytown and two pop-up sites that move to locations throughout the county to meet the need for testing throughout the county. The announcement said the stationary sites have the capacity to test 500 people per day and the two mobile sites can test up to 125 people per day.

The Katy drive-thru testing site for the new coronavirus is located at Legacy Stadium in downtown Katy.

Harris County health care and elected officials have said they need expanded testing in order to help them make decisions regarding the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has killed at least 100 people across Greater Houston. Nearly 5,000 confirmed cases have been identified with an unknown number of people infected but never tested due to a lack of testing capabilities and some patients likely being infected but without symptoms, officials have said.

“Until we make testing accessible to everyone who needs it, we will not be able to fully tackle this disease in Harris County,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

Additional testing is also available at some Walgreens locations throughout Harris County. Tests at Walgreens have no associated cost at this time. Those wishing to be tested at Walgreens can visit the following link to request a test:

“These efforts are a key step forward, but they’re not enough. We have to be nimble. We have to reach underserved communities and expand our ability to help folks identify if they are sick, and isolate immediately.”

Fort Bend County has expanded its testing to include those who are asymptomatic as of April 15. In a press release, the county said residents of the county can call 281-238-2363 to be prescreened, schedule an appointment and obtain an identification code for the one county-run testing site.

Testing in Waller County is also available through OakBend Medical Group. Testing through OakBend requires a Telehealth visit and there is a cost for the test which may be paid for in cash at a cost of $100 or through health insurance, according to press releases from the organization.

Fort Bend County has also updated its online tracking tool to provide ethnicity data associated with confirmed cases of COVID-19. The tracking tool is accessible here.

“I am committed to transparency and that means releasing data about the novel coronavirus cases accurately and quickly,” said County Judge KP George. “I ask everyone of all ages, genders, races and areas in Fort Bend to help stop the spread of this virus in our county by social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks in public places.”

Waller County Judge Trey Duhon said in an April 21 Facebook post that testing will be provided for one day in the near future in Waller County. He has been coordinating with the Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Department of Emergency Management and legislators to get the testing capability for county residents. Duhon said the testing site is one of 25 that will be deployed throughout the state.

Residents in Waller County have had to go to Austin or Harris counties to find the nearest testing facilities.

“That's is the extent of the information we have at this time (on testing). We will put out more information when it is obtained,” Duhon said.

Waller County has seen 25 confirmed cases and 17 recoveries as of April 22, Duhon said.

Neither Fort Bend nor Waller counties have joined Harris County in an order requiring cloth face coverings.


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