Graphic by Michael Bald
Since the Coronavirus pandemic extended into Smith County earlier this year, several COVID-19 testing locations have opened in and around the city of Tyler.
UT Health East Texas will be providing COVID-19 testing to students who are experiencing any respiratory symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. The testing will be available at the UT Health East Texas Clinic on Fifth Street “dependent on a patient’s symptoms and exposure risk,” said Rebecca Sanders, the director of public affairs and media relations at TJC. In order for students to be tested, they must present a driver’s license, Social Security card or passport. They also will be asked to fill out a brief registration form and medical history questionnaire.
“For students that have insurance, the reference lab (CPL) will bill the insurance carrier or in cases where the student is uninsured, CPL will bill the Cares Act Fund,” Sanders said. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, was passed by Congress on March 27 to provide direct and quick economic aid to the Americans negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to COVID-19 testing, the UT Health East Texas Clinic offers visits for acute illness and/or to establish care as well as rapid flu and strep testing, X-rays and other diagnostic tests when necessary. For these services, students will be required to provide a proper ID, insurance information (if any) and fill out standard physician office paperwork and health questions. These visits will be billed to the student’s insurance plan or, in cases where no insurance is in place, UT Health offers prompt pay discounts at the time of service for self-pay.
According to the Northeast Texas Public Health District, the Texas Division of Emergency Management is providing free COVID-19 testing for any non-symptomatic person from any county at three other locations in Tyler: Brookshire’s Culinary Center from 9 a.m. to noon every Monday and Wednesday; Tyler Senior Center at 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; and Louis Morgan Drugs Pharmacy No. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays. The type of test that will be provided is the polymerase chain reaction test. Anyone who is tested at any of these screening events will need to provide an up-to-date cell phone number, as the test results will only be distributed by text message or cell phone call.
Pre-registration for these free testing events is not required, however, wearing a face mask is required upon entry. Visit nethealthcovid19.org/testing for more information regarding the screenings.