Texas has administered more coronavirus testing than all of South Korea, and now has the fifth highest number of confirmed cases in the United States — trailing Illinois, New Jersey, California and New York. Currently, North Texas accounts for nearly 30% of all infections and victims within the state, reporting record-high numbers of hospitalizations this past week.
In response to the growing pandemic, Denton County Public Health established free screenings every Tuesday at the University of North Texas, with rotating locations every Friday. The tests are limited to Denton County residents who meet the eligibility criteria and pre-register online.
When DCPH initiated the drive-through testings last month, they conducted an average of 150 daily tests per site. However, DCPH Public Information Officer Jennifer Rainey said, "that [number] has increased over the past two weeks as we're now seeing 300+ pre-register for testing."
The spike in pre-registration comes at no surprise, as free testing alternatives in the City of Denton are few and far between. While CVS Pharmacy offers no-cost COVID-19 testing at qualified stores, only two exist in Denton County. As for the Walgreens Company, which additionally provides no-cost screenings, the nearest testing location is in East Dallas.
Regarding UNT, the campus is weeks away from receiving COVID-19 testing equipment. Kerry Stanhope, Assistant Director for the Meadows Center for Health Resources, said that screenings should be available by fall semester — August 24. Comparative to DCPH, the tests will be restricted to those showing symptoms.
Due to the insufficiency of ready options, ntTV has initiated a countywide search for all testing centers. The report is noninclusive and will be updated as new sites become available. In order of highest to lowest price without insurance:
• Although not publicized, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton does offer COVID-19 testing — confirmed to be upward of $1,000.
• The Healthcare Associates of Texas is a family practice that "can accommodate same-day appointment[s]," although they prefer you schedule testing ahead of time. The going rate is $714.
• Medical City Denton, or Denton Regional Hospital, offers COVID-19 testing through their emergency room. According to an on-staff physician, the price is disclosed "after you checkin and get a medical screening exam."
• The Colony ER Hospital requires that you call and schedule an appointment. Moreover, they only test patients who are insured and showing symptoms.
• Every CareNow in Denton County — Denton Rayzor Ranch, Denton, Roanoke and Lewisville — offers COVID-19 antibody testing by appointment. The total cost is $260, and results are "usually available within 24-48 hours."
• CommunityMed Family Urgent Care - Cross Roads offer "comprehensive COVID-19 bloodantibody and swab tests" by appointment. At $249, the turnaround time is two to five business days.
• As previously mentioned, two CVS Pharmacy's in Denton County offer self-swab testing. They are administered by appointment only, and similarly process the results within two to five business days. While free to state residents, "testing is limited" to those showing symptoms.
Nearly 2,500 Denton County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 — almost 2% of the state's total cases. If numbers continue to increase, Rainey said DCPH would "revisit and extend the weekly recurring testing sites." Overall, the United States has administered more tests than all of Southeast Asia and, with a 9% positive return, leads the world in COVID-19 cases.
Written by Andy Fancher
Graphics by Cami Ferrell