Who can get tested for coronavirus?
Testing criteria varies by site, but most prioritize medical workers; first responders and the elderly; or those with underlying conditions, recent travel or exposure to someone with a confirmed positive case. People presenting common symptoms such as fever and a dry cough are also prioritized.
Can people without symptoms get tested?
Testing for those without any symptoms is becoming more widely available and is recommended for those who have been exposed to someone with a positive or potentially positive case of the coronavirus.
What is antibody testing?
An antibody test identifies someone who may have previously carried the virus and developed an immune response to it. These help identify those with presumed immunity; however, tests that are in development are not yet widely available or approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Houston Director of Emergency Medicine Dr. David Persse said.
“It is not a good test to see whether somebody has the illness. ... We need to find out what their sensitivity and specificity is to find exactly where in the equation of usefulness it exists. ... They're being a little bit misrepresented as to what they actually test for,” Persse said.
What happens when someone receives a positive result?
Those with manageable symptoms should stay home and avoid all person-to-person contact until symptoms subside, Persse said. Health care providers can monitor symptoms remotely and determine when a patient has returned to health. Those who have come in contact with that person may be able to seek out testing at certain sites, even prior to their test results coming in. If conditions worsen, Persse said to seek medical advice and call ahead if going to an emergency department.
Does the coronavirus test cost anything?
Tests administered through Harris County and the city of Houston are free. Tests offered by private providers are paid through insurance or out-of-pocket payment. Some sites operated though public-private partnerships or at federally qualified health centers also offer free tests for those without health insurance. For payment and testing access questions, residents are encouraged to contact their primary care physicians or local coronavirus hotlines.
- City of Houston: 832-393-4220
- Brazoria County: 979-864-2167
- Fort Bend County: 281-633-7795
- Galveston County: 409-978-4040
- Harris County: 832-927-7575
- Montgomery County: 936‐523‐5040
- Waller County: 979-826-6063
Where can I get a coronavirus test?
There are two types of testing locations:
- Walk-up testing: Some tests are available at health clinics, urgent care centers, free-standing emergency rooms and hospitals. Those with non-life-threatening symptoms who are seeking on-site testing should call primary care physicians for a consultation first, Harris County Public Health officials recommend. This gives health care providers time to prepare to administer a test by wearing protective clothing and isolating a patient before they come in contact with others.
- Drive-thru testing: Large-scale testing sites are now being offered by both private and public providers. Government-funded tests are free to those with and without insurance. Some test centers require prescreening, while others perform screening on-site.
For more sites outside of Houston as well as walk-up sites, view the Texas Department of Human Services database here.
Houston drive-thru sites
Houston Health Department
Harris County Department of Health
Texas Department of Emergency Management
Houston Community College - South Campus, 1990 Airport Blvd., Houston
Houston Community College Northeast Campus, 555 Community College Drive, Houston
Willowridge High School, 16301 Chimney Rock Road, Houston
NRG Green Lot, 1 Reliant Park Drive, Houston
Kingwood Park Community Center, 4102 Rustic Woods Drive, Houston
United Memorial Medical Center
United Memorial Medical Center, 501 Tidwell Road, Houston
Forest Brook Middle School School, 7525 Tidwell Road, Houston
Cullen Middle School, 6900 Scott Street, Houston
Griggs School, 801 Regional Park Drive, Houston
Houston Community College Eastside Campus, 6815 Rustic St., Bldg. B., Houston
Southwest Multiservice Center, 6400 High Star Drive, Houston
14531 Westheimer Road, Houston
8301 Broadway St., Houston
12353 FM 1960 Road W., Houston
5655 E, Sam Houston Parkway N., Houston
13003 Tomball Parkway, Houston
111 Yale St., Houston
3506 S. Hwy. 6, Houston
15010 Memorial Drive, Houston
1003 Richmond Ave., Houston
5402 Westheimer Road, Houston
2469 Bay Area Blvd., Clear Lake
5603 W. FM 1960, Houston
1000 Elgin St., Houston
6079 N. Hwy. 6, Houston
12601 Tomball Parkway, Tomball
11600 West FM 1960, Houston
5510 West Orem Drive, Houston,
19715 Tomball Parkway, Tomball
4150 North Shepherd Drive, Houston
5725 N. Eldridge Parkway, Houston
2828 Spears Road, Houston
4451 W. Fuqua Road, Houston
12502 Memorial Drive, Houston
Cost: free through insurance
Fifth Ward Multi-Service Center
4014 Market St., Houston
My Family Doctor
Cost: free through insurance or $150 out of pocket, cash only
Prescreening not required
6430 Hillcroft Ave., Houston
Cost: free through insurance; some out-of-pocket charges may apply
7364 Antoine Drive, Houston
Life Savers ER
Cost: free through insurance, $150-$200 for uninsured
3820 N. Shepherd Drive, Ste. A, Houston
NextCare Urgent Care
10906 FM 1960, Houston
1202 E. NASA Parkway, Clear Lake
1331 Northpark Drive, Kingwood
Westfield Urgent Care
Cost: free with insurance
2010 FM 1960, Houston
Clinicas Mi Doctor
Cost: free with insurance, $159 without insurance
5402 Airline Drive, Houston
8225 Broadway St., Houston
10058 Long Point Road, Houston
HOPE Clinic West
12121 Westheimer Road, Ste. 205
What if a patient with disabilities needs transportation to a testing site?
Houston residents with disabilities can get assistance by calling 832-394-0814, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.houstontx.gov/disabilities/.