UNT Health Science Center Opens COVID-19 Testing Site For First Responders

Nurse holding test tube with blood for 2019-nCoV analyzing
Photo credit photoguns/GettyImages
By NewsRadio 1080 KRLD

FORT WORTH (1080 KRLD) - The UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth is helping Tarrant County first responders during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

"We felt like our ability to help in this situation would be to open up a testing site exclusively for first responders," says Dr. Michael Williams, president of the UNT Health Science Center. "These health systems could easily be overwhelmed by people coming to their emergency rooms and potentially filling up their hospital beds as well as their ICUs."

The center got the idea to do a remote testing site for first responders based on what other health centers have been doing.

"The health systems were beginning to set up testing sites predominantly intended for their patients in their networks, as well as their own employees," says Dr. Williams.

First responders who feel that they may need to be tested will contact the Tarrant County Emergency Operations Center for instructions on where to go.

Currently, results could take up to seven days to get back, but Dr. Williams says they hope to eventually greatly reduce that.

"Just in the last few days, we've become aware of what's called a point of care test that would allow us to get results back in 45 minutes," Dr. Williams says.

First responders who show up for a test will need to self-quarantine until the results come back.

"Our goal in this is to get first responders some comfort in knowing where they stand, as well as getting them all quarantine as quickly as we can," says Dr. Williams.