Here's What You Need To Know About Coronavirus Testing In North Texas | KERA News

Here's What You Need To Know About Coronavirus Testing In North Texas

Jul 14, 2020

The constant stream of pandemic news can make it challenging to find information on North Texas coronavirus testing. Here's a guide to help you figure out where to go, what symptoms to look out for and different types of testing available before you venture out.

KERA's Hady Mawajdeh shows what it's like to get a free COVID-19 test in Dallas. Testing is no longer available at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. 

Where To Get Tested

There are a number of factors that will help determine where you should get tested: Do you have symptoms? Do you have insurance? How much are you willing to pay?

You can also visit the state health department's website for a full list of testing sites in the area. 

For those who have symptoms but no insurance, free community-based testing sites are available in different counties: 

DALLAS COUNTY

Drive-Thru Sites:

  • Ellis Davis Field House at 9191 South Polk Street - 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday
  • University of Dallas - 1845 E. Northgate Drive, Irving, Texas 75062, Lot B - 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Saturday (This location is for city of Dallas and Dallas County residents only. Visitors must provide documentation of their address.) 

 Walk-Up Sites: 

  • Salvation Army’s Pleasant Grove Corps Community Center on Elam Road, Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Red Bird Mall / Westmoreland Park 7222 S. Westmoreland Road, Dallas, TX 75237 Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. 
  • Sam Tasby Middle School 7001 Fair Oaks Avenue, Dallas, TX 75231 Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. 

COLLIN COUNTY

DENTON COUNTY 

  • Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the University of North Texas Union Circle Parking Garage at 350 South Welch Street. 
  • Other drive-through locations and times are on the county’s website.

Patients must register ahead of time to get tested by calling 940-349-2585 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

GRAND PRAIRIE

Time: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 

  • Veterans Park Event Center parking lot at 925 Conover Drive. The site will test any Grand Prairie resident and any employee of a Grand Prairie business or school district who is experiencing symptoms.

Appointments are required and can be made by calling or texting 1-888-766-6653 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Patients must have proof that they're Grand Prairie residents.

At-home appointments are available for those with symptoms who don’t have transportation. Appointments can be made for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling or texting 1-888-766-6653 and are only available to Grand Prairie residents.

FORT WORTH/ARLINGTON 

  • The testing locations are drive-through sites, and appointments are required. Appointments can be made online or by calling 817-248-6299. To get an appointment, patients must first fill out a self-screening questionnaire.

People must have a valid photo ID with proof of residency in Tarrant County. Insurance information will also be requested if a patient has it, but tests are still free to those with insurance. 

Symptoms of Coronavirus

Symptoms often appear 2-14 days after being exposed to the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website says people with COVID-19 have a “wide range of symptoms” from mild to severe, including: 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Signs that you need to seek emergency medical care immediately: 

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

These lists do not include all the possible symptoms of COVID-19. People are encouraged to consult with a medical professional for severe or concerning symptoms. 

Take the CDC’s self-checker guide to help you decide what medical care you might need. 

Different Types Of Tests Explained

There are three types of testing for COVID-19: the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), antigen and antibody (serology), according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The PCR and antigen tests detect whether a person is currently infected and the antibody test detects whether a person has been infected in the past. 

PCR Test 

This type of testing detects whether a person has an active case of infection. Usually, a nasal or throat swab is taken by a healthcare professional and sent to a lab for testing. 

A negative test means the person is not infected with COVID-19 at the time. However, that doesn’t mean the person can’t be infected in the future. This type of test does not determine whether a person was infected in the past or if a person was exposed to the virus and will develop an active infection in the future.

Antigen Test

This test detects if a person has an active infection with a nasal or throat swab. Importantly, a negative antigen test does not rule out COVID-19. To confirm whether someone is infected, they must take a PCR test. The antigen test is quick and less expensive than a PCR test. 

Antibody Test

An antibody test determines if there was a previous infection. Usually, a blood sample is taken and sent to a lab. If someone tests positive, it means they were infected with COVID-19 and their immune system created antibodies to fight off the infection. A negative test result could still mean that the person has a current infection and the antibody test was collected too soon.

Got a tip? Email Elizabeth Myong at Emyong@KERA.org. You can follow Elizabeth on Twitter @Elizabeth_Myong.

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.