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Houston may add two new COVID sites and mobile testing to keep up with demand, mayor says

“We’re looking at some enhanced mobile testing that we can actually go, for example, to the apartment complex, people who are transportation challenged.”

HOUSTON — Mayor Sylvester Turner said Tuesday he believes the city’s 30-plus COVID-19 testing locations -- including five mega-sites -- are doing a good job of meeting demand.

“I think we’re in a good space in terms of the number of tests that are available throughout the city,” said Mayor Turner.

The mayor told KHOU that Houston Health Department-affiliated sites were at or near his target capacity of 35,000 daily tests. 

“We’re looking at maybe opening up two additional maybe major testing sites closer into the communities themselves,” said Mayor Turner. “We’re looking at some enhanced mobile testing that we can actually go, for example, to the apartment complex, people who are transportation challenged.”

The mayor says one possible site under consideration is the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center on West Gray Street near downtown. That site would focus on providing testing access to people with disabilities.

Mayor Turner told KHOU his main focus currently is pushing testing providers to deliver results within 48 hours. 

Labs nationwide have battled high demand and staff shortages due to COVID-19.

“In fact, I was in conversation with one of the providers, one of the people affiliated with Dave & Busters, and what they indicated to me is that they worked out some of their glitches,” said Mayor Turner. “Now they’re saying to me that the results are coming back within a 48-hour time period, no later than three days. Now we’ll continue to work to check that.”

The mayor says part of the issue was some emailed results from the Dave & Buster’s site were ending up in patients’ spam folder and going unread.

In addition to the city’s five mega sites, Harris County Public Health opened the county’s sixth mega site Tuesday at Planet Ford Stadium in Spring.

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