With more tests available, patients who do not show symptomatic signs for the novel coronavirus can now get tested at selected testing sites.
The new development started after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed and updated its guidelines earlier in May.
While hospitalized patients, healthcare facility workers or first responders as well as residents in long-term care facilities such as prisons and shelters, who show symptoms, remain the highest priority to get tested, tests are now also available for asymptomatic individuals.
Testing for patients without symptoms is currently available at testing sites such as the Coryell Memorial Hospital in Gatesville, Freedom Urgent Care in Killeen and Harker Heights, Seton Medical Center Harker Heights and Premier ER and Urgent Care in Temple.
“Coryell Health has aggressively expanded testing access ensuring the community returns to normal safely,” said Coryell Health Marketing Director Carly Latham. “Testing at no additional cost will continue for those in identified potential ‘hot spots’”.
The so-called hot spots include businesses with frequent, continuous direct contact with the general public and cosmetic shops. Healthcare professionals and employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice are also considered to work at hot spots.
“We have identified several areas of potential hot spots or areas where testing can have the greatest impact and invited those individuals to call about scheduling a test,” Latham said. “Identifying asymptomatic carriers and isolating positive patients will help slow the spread of the virus.”
In order to guarantee all safety and possible isolation procedures, scheduling an appointment or calling triage ahead of time is necessary for all non-emergency situations.
It is also recommended to undergo a self-screening process before reaching out to a provider.
Baylor Scott & White offers a free online screening questionnaire for anyone who has questions or concerns about their risk of infection with COVID-19 on the MyBSWHealth app and online at MyBSWHealth.com.
A similar COVID-19 self-checker is accessible at the Texas Department for Health and Human Services website. The checker determines whether individuals should get testing done or remain cautious with practicing of social distancing and safe hygiene habits.
However, not every local clinic or testing site offers testing for those without symptoms.
According to AdventHealth-Central Texas spokeswoman Erin Riley, the Killeen hospital can currently not test patients without symptoms.
This is also the case if a person without symptoms has been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
“If someone has been in contact with a COVID-19 positive person, they should self-monitor for symptoms, maintain social distancing and seek care at their primary provider,” Riley said. “If they become symptomatic, they should seek care at their primary provider or for emergent conditions, the emergency room.”
Primary care providers can refer their patients to the correct testing site and help them schedule an appointment.
Due to insurance variables, all clinic and hospital spokespersons were not able to give an answer on how much testing will ultimately cost the patient.
However, testing is covered by most insurance plans or only requires minimal cost. Patients without insurance are advised to call medical offices for more information.
Other locations to be tested for the coronavirus include the Baylor Scott & White Killeen Clinic, 3701 Scott and White Drive; Quest Diagnostics in Killeen, 2300 S. Clear Creek Road, Suite 204; and Temple, 2668 South 31st St., Suite D.