The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley announced Friday that they will start drive-thru testing for the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 starting Monday — by appointment only — at both the Edinburg and Brownsville.
Testing will be available for students, faculty, staff and the public who qualify after mandatory telephone screening.
Anyone without insurance can get screened for COVID-19 at no cost, and the results of the evaluation will be confirmed within days for those tested, according to a UTRGV press release. Prescriptions for testing will be provided by UTRGV physicians at the point of care.
“Please rest assured that healthcare and security personnel will be present to ensure that drive-thru protocols are followed, such as: avoiding on-site congestion; utilizing test kits for those with significant symptoms and ensuring that social distancing and other safety protocols are maintained,” the release states.
Those who qualify for the test after the telephone screening should arrive at the UT Health RGV drive-thru site with identification.
In the press release, Dr. John Krouse, dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine and executive vice president for Health Affairs, said that as the number of coronavirus cases increases in Texas and locally, UTRGV is boosting its efforts to provide the Rio Grande Valley with resources, including over-the-phone evaluations, telemedicine and the drive-thru testing sites.
“The UTRGV School of Medicine is at the forefront of providing our community with healthcare resources, including COVID-19 testing,” he said. “We are proud of our healthcare professionals for stepping up, and we thank Congressman Vicente Gonzalez for being instrumental in making sure we obtained the testing kits necessary to serve our community.”
The university will continue to work with local and state officials, as well as local hospitals, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on the community, the press release reads.
UTRGV President Guy Bailey said that the health and safety of the community is of paramount importance during this public health challenge.
“Working together, we can significantly impact the spread of the virus,” he said.
UTRGV announced Friday that a student in Brownsville and a faculty member who lives in the Upper Valley have both tested positive for COVID-19.
“We have been informed that a student resident in our Casa Bella Apartments has tested positive for COVID-19,” the statement from UTRGV reads. “The student had recently traveled out of the state of Texas and is currently in isolation and receiving care while following protocols from Student Health Services in coordination with the Cameron County Health Department.”
In the same email, Bailey stated that the university learned Friday that a faculty member who resides in Hidalgo County has also tested positive for the coronavirus. He said the faculty member had recently traveled overseas.
“While news of our first positive cases is alarming, we should also try to remain calm and stay prepared,” Bailey said. “The Rio Grande Valley is expecting an increase in the number of cases as the region begins to ramp up testing capabilities.”