UPDATE: Fort Bend County now operating coronavirus testing site at Smart Financial Centre

Fort Bend County is now running the coronavirus testing site at the Smart Financial Centre. (Beth Marshall/Community Impact Newspaper)
Fort Bend County is now running the coronavirus testing site at the Smart Financial Centre. (Beth Marshall/Community Impact Newspaper)

Fort Bend County is now running the coronavirus testing site at the Smart Financial Centre. (Beth Marshall/Community Impact Newspaper)

Updated April 28, 4:44 p.m.

Fort Bend County is now operating the coronavirus testing facility at the Smart Financial Centre, said Jacquelyn Minter, Fort Bend County Health and Human Services Department director and local health authority.

"We have opened our second no-cost testing site by taking over the Smart Financial site," Minter said at the April 28 Fort Bend County Commissioners Court meeting.

On April 27—the same day Fort Bend County announced it was opening a second free, drive-thru testing site—a representative from United Memorial Medical Center confirmed it was no longer offering testing at the location.

In order to be tested at the Smart Financial Centre, residents must sign up online or over the phone, complete a prescreening activity and schedule a test date and time.



Updated April 27, 1:31 p.m.

United Memorial Medical Center has stopped performing coronavirus tests at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land effective April 25, a representative from UMMC confirmed.

Fort Bend County Judge KP George announced April 24 on Facebook that the testing facility would be closing.

UMMC continues to offer coronavirus tests at other locations throughout the Houston area. In order to be tested, patients must first register online to be prescreened.

There are additional coronavirus testing sites throughout the Sugar Land and Missouri City area, including two county-run sites.

Posted March 31, 11:49 a.m.

United Memorial Medical Center opened a free, drive-thru coronavirus testing location at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land on March 31.

Testing began March 31 at 10 a.m. and will operate Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The Smart Financial Centre is located at 18111 Lexington Blvd., Sugar Land.

UMMC CEO Syed Mohiuddin said the center expects to test 250 people per day at this location going forward. Additionally, he said there is a 24-36-hour turnaround time for test results. Those seeking to be tested do not need to be prescreened nor make an appointment.

Mohiuddin said there is no upfront cost, and patients' insurance will not be billed either. He said UMMC is utilizing private funding and absorbing the costs of the tests.

A number of elected officials came out to commemorate the opening of the center, including U.S. Reps. Pete Olson and Sheila Jackson Lee, Fort Bend County Judge KP George, state Rep. Ron Reynolds and Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman.

George said while this is the third testing facility in Fort Bend County, the county is looking to add more testing locations soon. As of March 31, George said Fort Bend County has 138 cases of the coronavirus.

“Let’s test more people,” George said. “When we test more people, we are better off.”

Elected officials and medical professionals present March 31 urged residents to stay at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

George said he is considering extending the “Stay Home to Save Lives” order for Fort Bend County, which was initially set to end April 3. Under that order, only essential businesses, services and infrastructure can remain open.

UMMC has another testing facility at 501 Tidwell Drive, Houston. UMMC Chief Medical Officer Joseph Varon said 2,400 people have been tested at that location since March 19, and 9.1% of tests have come back positive.

Varon said as UMMC continues to test more people, they expect to see more cases and a higher percentage of positive test results.

“Having the opportunity to test in this area will show that those numbers will continue to increase,” Varon said.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the testing center opened on March 30. Testing at the Smart Financial Centre began March 31.

By Claire Shoop
Claire joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2019 as the reporter for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2019 where she studied journalism, government and Arabic. While in school, Claire was a fellow for The Texas Tribune, worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, and spent a semester in Washington, D.C. She enjoys playing cards with her family and listening to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.


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