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Public health officials trying to keep up with growing COVID-19 testing demand

A new mobile site opened Tuesday at Willowridge High School

HOUSTON, Texas — The Houston Health Department’s newest mobile COVID-19 testing site opened Tuesday at Willowridge High School in collaboration with the Texas Department of Emergency Management.

It’s daily testing capacity of 250 people included Josue Razo.

"Somebody at my job tested positive for it,” said Razo.

It was his second stop for a test.

"Because I went this morning and it was about a three hour wait," said Razo. "They ran out of tests."

Lately, reaching capacity at free testing sites has become routine.

That’s why additional locations are opening up and daily capacity at sites like Delmar Stadium was just increased from 500 to 650 tests per day.

"We reach capacity every day and more people are seeking testing," said Houston Health Dept. PIO Porfirio Villarreal.

Right now, the Houston Health Department’s goal is to test about 3000 people per day at its sites.

That’s in addition to those operated by Harris County Public Health, private providers and hospitals.

It's a number in constant need of expanding.

"That is expected to continue as we see rising cases and more people get information and knowledge about the need to test if they’ve been exposed or gone into large crowds,” said Villarreal.

Some sites, including the large ones at stadiums, require pre-registration and a code in order to get tested.

Others may require you to have symptoms.

While some are first-come first-serve.

"So, you go at the start of the day and you’re there until they reach capacity,” said Villarreal.

Self-checker tools, like one on the state health department’s website, can help you determine if a test is even needed right away.

Whether you wait a little while, like Razo, or for hours may be more difficult to predict.

"I waited about 25 minutes," said Razo.

Link to DSHS self-checker: https://txctt.force.com/ct/s/assessment?language=en_US 

Link to Houston Health Department COVID testing site: https://houstonemergency.org/covid-19-testing/ 

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