News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

North Texans are struggling to find COVID tests and get their results

A COVID testing line at CVS.
LM Otero
Associated Press
Cars wait in line at a CVS pharmacy offering drive-thru COVID-19 nasal swab tests in Dallas, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020.

People across the state, including North Texas residents, are struggling to find COVID tests amid a surge of positive cases. Here’s a look at two community members who faced challenges when it came to getting tested.

Yessica Hernandez’s son started feeling a little sick after the holidays, and he couldn’t go back to school without a COVID negative test. Hernandez says she looked around for at-home tests, but couldn’t find any at the time.

But then she learned her son’s school district was holding tests. She waited two hours to get tested in her car with both children, and was told results would reach her the next day.

“Having to wait in the car with both kids, it can be frustrating especially if one needs to be fed and the other one just needs to be kept calm because obviously kids are anxious in the car if they're waiting for that long,” Hernandez said.

It's been five days now, and Hernandez says she still doesn’t have her son’s test results.

But she says she did eventually find out her son was negative for COVID after finding an at-home test kit later in the week. Now, he’s back in school.

Former Wichita Falls resident Claire Eby, who now lives in Austin, says it was a similar struggle to find a COVID test closer to the end of 2021.

Since she has arthritis and is immunocompromised, she decided to get tested after going to a wedding and spending the holidays at home in Wichita Falls, just to make sure everything was alright.

But when she went to Walgreen's where she had gotten rapid tests for her and her family just a week before, she found no appointments available for the next four days. And she had to get back to work in Austin.

“It was very unusual to not be able to find a test in Wichita Falls because usually they're pretty available,” Eby said. “It is a smaller community but it was highly unusual.”

Eby also noticed that a lot of the pop-up testing sites that had been open earlier in the pandemic had shut down. As a result, more people were rushing to the same testing sites, and less appointments were available.

Eby ended up getting tested in Austin when she got back. But unlike Hernandez, everywhere she looked, she couldn’t find an at-home testing kit.

“When I talked to people, it sounded like you really had to be there when the shipment arrived in order to get a rapid test.”

Got a tip? Email Haya Panjwani at Follow Haya on Twitter @hayapanjw

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Haya Panjwani is a general assignment reporter for KUT. She also served as a legislative fellow for The Texas Newsroom during the 2021 legislative session.