Houston's free COVID-19 testing site expands to see all ages

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston's first drive-thru COVID-19 testing site will begin expanding their services to all ages beginning Sunday, March 22.

Officials say those with a chronic illness, experiencing a cough, difficulty breathing or any other COVID-19 symptoms will still have to call 832-393-4220 for a screening between the hours of 9 a.m. - 3 p.m before being tested. This testing location will only see people who received a unique code from the call.

Mayor Sylvester Turner inspected the first free COVID-19 testing site, which was only accepting seniors 65 and older Saturday afternoon.

"As of 12 p.m., they have already seen 79 people," said Mayor Turner.

They also were instructed to call in for a free screening before receiving the address to the testing location.

Three additional sites will be opening in the coming days.

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"The drive-thru sites will augment testing by our local medical providers," said Dr. David Persse, local health authority for the Houston Health Department. "We recommend people with symptoms first seek COVID-19 testing from their family doctor before seeking screening for a drive-thru site."

On Friday, 159 healthcare professionals and first responders experiencing symptoms received COVID-19 testing at the 1st free drive-thru Houston site. The health department also announced the drive-thru testing site will expand its services to people over the age of 65 starting Saturday.

"If you are a healthy person with mild symptoms and not seriously ill, please self-quarantine at home," Dr. Persse said. "Most people infected with COVID-19 recover. It's important we first focus our limited testing resources on the most vulnerable."
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