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2 coronavirus testing sites open at Houston-area Walgreens

Each site will be able to do up to 200 of the 15-minute “rapid” tests per day and patients will get results in 24 hours.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Two new coronavirus drive-through testing sites are coming to Harris County on Friday.

Judge Lina Hidalgo said the county worked with Walgreens and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to launch the program.

One site is in West Houston on Westheimer and Highway 6.

The other is in Pasadena on West Southmore Avenue at Shaver Street.

Each site will be able to do up to 200 of the 15-minute “rapid” tests per day.

Patients will get results in 24 hours.

Hidalgo said the path to getting the local economy back to normal life requires a couple of steps.

"First, we have to reach our peak of new cases, and then (begin to) taper down, and second, we need universal, rapid testing ... so everyone knows who's healthy and who's not," she said at a press conference Thursday. "It's the key to getting our economy back to work."

To get tested, you’ll have to fill out a digital health assessment first to get an appointment.

You can find that at ReadyHarris.org.

How it works

At the test site, you will stay in your vehicle and a Walgreens pharmacist will hand you a nasal swab and give you the test instructions.

The rapid tests are made by the company Abbott Diagnostics. The tests have been described as less invasive and less painful than other coronavirus tests.

Abbott says a nasal swab is inserted less than one inch into the nose, then rotated, in order to collect a sample.

Previous tests required the swab be pushed further up the nose.

Although the results are ready within minutes, Harris County says it takes 24 hours to deliver results to individuals because the results have to be reported.

The new drive-thru, rapid-response tests increase the county’s testing capacity by 400 tests per day.

County leaders say the demand for tests has no end in sight.

“We still have more demand than we have supply,” Hidalgo said.

RELATED: Fort Bend County's coronavirus testing site now accepts people without symptoms, but you still have to call ahead

RELATED: Harris County doubles coronavirus testing with peak projected late April

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Follow social distancing

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.

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