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Houstonians line up for drive-through COVID-19 tests offered at private clinic

Local officials say they are still working on free public drive-through testing.

HOUSTON — Desperate for COVID-19 tests, Houstonians are waiting hours in their cars to get one.

Private drive-through clinics are getting a lot of business with a turnaround of four days.

The lines are long but test patients say it's worth it.

Among those waiting to be tested on Tuesday was Vanderbilt University junior Sara Van Tuerenhout.

She was on a study abroad program in Spain until this past weekend.

"Friday night I thought I was going to be there until April," Van Tuerenhout said. "Then Sunday night, it was time to come home.”

Van Tuerenhout says things in Europe were getting rough, so she hopped on a plane heading for the states soon as she could.

First she had to go through customs in Detroit where they told her she would have to self-quarantine when she arrived in Houston.

When she landed in Houston there was a text message on her phone.

"Someone who was in our program said she just tested positive for (the coronavirus) and wanted to make sure we got tested as well," Van Tuerenhout said.

Her mother had heard about a private clinic offering drive-through testing on Hillcroft near the Southwest Freeway.

The testing process is detailed on the My Family Doctor clinic’s website.

First, you fill out a questionnaire and pay $25 for a consultation with a doctor.

Then the doctor decides if you should get a test.

If the doctor determines you can get a test, you pay $150.

Nasal swabs are collected and the test is sent off to a lab.

The clinic only accepts cash; however, its website says it will try to bill your insurance.

Van Tuerenhout’s insurance covered the entire cost of the visit and test.

Just around the corner more private clinics have started to pop up.

The wait in the car was worth it for Van Tuerenhout, even if it turns out to be just for her own peace of mind.

“I am asymptomatic, which is hopeful, but she was as well, so we just have to wait for the results in the next four days," Van Tuerenhout.

KHOU 11 has been told by officials the local health departments are still trying figure out how to implement the free drive-through test sites.

Officials have not said exactly when those will be ready for the public.

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.

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.

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.

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.