The city of Austin and several regional health care partners, including Central Health and its clinical arm CommUnityCare Health Centers, have been providing free coronavirus tests to symptomatic individuals since mid-April.

Now, testing is being provided for individuals showing no symptoms consistent with COVID-19 who may be concerned they have been exposed to the potentially fatal novel coronavirus.

CommUnityCare announced June 8 it will provide free coronavirus testing for individuals with no symptoms, beginning immediately.

“The prevalence of asymptomatic carriers is one of the biggest challenges we are currently facing during this pandemic – especially for at risk populations,” CommUnityCare Health Centers CEO Jaeson Fournier said in a June 8 news release. “A carrier of the disease who doesn’t know they have it is more likely to pass it to others without even knowing it.”

Data provided by CommUnityCare shows the health care provider has seen a “significantly lower” positivity rate for coronavirus in asymptomatic patients with no exposure at the time of testing at its clinics. According to CommUnityCare, of the 311 patients tested that were showing no symptoms, only 11 tested positive for a rate of 3.54%.

Quest Diagnostics and Centene Corp., an international diagnostic testing laboratory, is providing 1,000 coronavirus tests to CommUnityCare per week to test individuals in Travis County and its surrounding communities who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19, according to the news release.

According to CommUnityCare, these tests are available to any patient with an appointment at any of its clinic locations.

Free tests will also be provided at the seven public testing sites that are currently offering coronavirus tests at no charge to the public. Those sites, located at Hancock Center in Austin, Austin’s Colony and Hornsby Bend, Colony Park, Del Valle, Dove Springs, Manor and Pflugerville, are open on a rotating schedule, according to CommUnityCare. To find more information about the schedule of those locations, interested individuals should visit CommUnityCare’s website or call CommUnityCare’s COVID-19 hotline at 512-978-8775.

No appointment or doctor’s referral is required for screening and testing at the CommUnityCare public testing sites, and the health care provider stated no individuals arriving for testing will be asked for residency status.

Patients with no health insurance coverage will receive a coronavirus test at no charge, CommUnityCare said in its news release.