A free COVID-19 drive-thru testing center will be located at The Parks Mall at Arlington and be able to start administering 100 tests a day, Fire Chief Don Crowson said at an Arlington City Council meeting Tuesday.
The city hopes to implement the site by the end of the week, Crowson said. It will be accessible to all of Tarrant County but will serve predominantly the east and south portions of the county.
Arlington will work with Tarrant County Public Health and other agencies to have the site operational.
Testing will help the city identify potential outbreaks, Crowson said. While it will not solve COVID-19, it will help the city make informed decisions because the expectation is that COVID-19 will still be present in the fall, he said.
“We’re going to have to live with COVID-19,” Crowson said. “It’s here, and we’re going to have to adapt to it, and we’re going to have to work around it or through it until a vaccine or other treatments are developed.”
Crowson said the testing materials are still not to the degree of widespread testing, and the testing efforts should be focused on those who are most likely in need of them.
“Our goal would be to test as many people who should be tested,” he said.
There will be factors such as age and health conditions that hold an individual at higher risk that will be considered when administering tests. Crowson said a formal list will be published in the next few days.
“We believe we have significant capacity,” Crowson said. “I think we'll only be limited by the number of tests available to us.”
Dr. Cynthia Simmons, Arlington EMS System medical director, said individuals don’t have to see their private physician and obtain an order before going to the testing site.
Simmons said individuals seeking tests will go through a registration process, and the logistics of that are still being worked out. After registering, the testing site will have the individual’s demographic data and schedule a time for them to be tested.
For example, she said someone could get an 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. scheduled time, and in that hour, there would be about 10 to 12 people scheduled for tests.
At the end of the day, the tests will be obtained by Quest Diagnostics and be tested in two of its local testing centers, Simmons said.
City Manager Trey Yelverton said the city’s Via Rideshare service is still operational, and The Parks Mall is in its service zone. He said a driver can’t refuse to give someone a ride; however, drivers will have a mask and cleaning supplies in their vehicle for them available.
Yelverton also mentioned that Handitran is still operational as well and can be used as transportation to the testing site.