As the coronavirus pandemic evolves, public and private health care providers in North Texas are launching drive-thru COVID-19 testing centers, but the capacity for testing remains limited.
Dr. Christopher Crow is president of the Catalyst Health Network, a North Texas-based group of primary care physicians. The network is opening its first drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility Monday. However, tests need to be ordered by a physician, and Catalyst is prioritizing testing for specific groups. Crow said for now, the test is not available for those who have no symptoms.
"This is a new delivery system that is being put together," Crow said. "Who is needing testing right now? Well, the government has given us guidelines around health care workers, front-line workers as well as anybody over 65 that has symptoms."
Crow said the Catalyst Health Network serves more than 1 million patients across North and East Texas. More physicians within the network are offering telemedicine services to help determine whether patients need to be tested for the coronavirus disease. Crow also encourages patients to take Catalysts' online assessment, which can help them decide if a visit to the doctor is needed.
"We're constrained," Crow said. "We have a bottleneck with testing capacity all over the nation. We're slowly opening up that capacity."
Parkland Hospital will also start limited drive-thru testing Monday. The service will be available by appointment and is only being offered to existing Parkland patients, though the hospital hopes to expand capacity in the future. Parkland patients can reach the hospital's COVID-19 Patient Line at 214-590-8060.