UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect new information from the City of Amarillo.
AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The City of Amarillo has partnered with the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center to provide drive-thru testing for COVID-19.
The test site will be located at the Rex Baxter building at the Tri-State Fairgrounds.
Testing started today, Friday, March 27.
People who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to call the Amarillo Public Health Department at 806-378-6300.
Health officials said if the symptoms warrant a test, they will be sent to the drive-thru facility for testing.
“We’ve been working around the clock for several days to get these tests in place and the facility set up for this program,” said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson. “We are finally seeing a good supply of tests coming into our region, and we want to get them out to those that need them as quickly as possible.”
The city said it hopes to operate the facility from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, depending on the continuing availability of tests. The city initially said the facility would be open until 4 p.m., but said they need to close by 3 p.m. to get the tests to the lab by 4 p.m.
Dr. Brian Weis, Chief Medical Officer at Northwest Texas Hospital said that having this mobile site is great because it will take the pressure off the hospitals in people coming to get tested.
“To have that drive through the testing facility is fantastic. The more we can take the pressure off the hospitals the better. The hospitals are going to be focused on hospitalized patients, maybe critically ill patients. To be able to move that testing site off-campus is fantastic. Its good to know that we are now getting the supplies to do that. “
The City of Amarillo said they got an additional 100 tests today, so they have 150 tests for Monday.
Any time the facility is not operating, Public Health Staff members will still be available to assist callers with alternatives.
“We’re very excited to see testing options increasing throughout the region,” said Amarillo Director of Public Health Casie Stoughton. “Our staff and our great partners at Texas Tech have been waiting for this moment. We’re ready to go.”
Potter County, the Amarillo Fire Department, and the Amarillo Police Department are also assisting with the drive-thru testing process.
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