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Houston looking to open additional mass COVID testing sites as others reach capacity

The City of Houston is looking into opening an additional mass testing site after two locations reach capacity.

HOUSTON — The City of Houston is looking to open an additional mass COVID-19 testing site after two sites reached capacity.

Local health officials said the Southwest Multi-Service Center on High Star Drive and the Hiram Clarke Multi-Service Center on West Fuqua Street both reached their 250-testing limit Wednesday.

Dr. Stephen Williams, City of Houston Health Department Director, said demand for COVID testing is surging. 

"It's true. What we've seen has been an increase in demand," Williams told KHOU 11 News. 

People at the Southwest Multi-Service Center had different reasons for getting tested. Some for work and others for upcoming holiday gatherings. 

“I'm in a household where we have two people that recently got it, so I just wanted to be safe,” said Kamil Lawal.

“We have family coming into town and then we also have several get to get-togethers upcoming,” said Melody Rodriguez.

Zachary Merridt said he got tested out of concerns with the new omicron variant.

"It’s getting a little bit more intense nowadays than it was a couple of months ago. You got to be safe."

Dr. Williams said over the last week, all of the city-ran testing locations were close to reaching capacity. He said the numbers have them looking to expand. 

“The main thing is we’re keeping tabs on what’s happening and looking at the potential of opening up a larger site next week," Williams said.

The testing demand is a good sign people are taking the right precaution, said Williams. But he stresses the importance of getting the shot. 

“We want to stress that people who are unvaccinated, they need to get vaccinated. Those people who have not taken booster, we’re encouraging those folks to get boosters," Williams said. 

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