Although some medical experts say the variant could be less lethal than others before it, hospitalizations in Texas this week doubled amid a shortage of staff at hospitals. More children are testing positive than ever before, and omicron isn’t expected to peak in North Texas until late January, according to UT Southwestern.
With omicron fueling a resurgence of COVID-19 around Texas and across the country, Dallas County Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that two more drive-thru testing sites will open this week.
Starting Wednesday, tests can be taken at Ellis Davis Field House, 9191 S Polk St. This testing site will be open Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Although appointments are preferred, they aren’t required at the Ellis Davis location.
Additionally, from Thursday onward, patients can get tested at The Cove Aquatic Center at Samuell Grand Park, 3201 Samuell Blvd. This spot requires appointments and will operate from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
“With omicron surging throughout the country, DCHHS is working to expand access to testing across Dallas County to help limit the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Philip Huang, DCHHS director, said in press release Tuesday.
“To help keep our community safe during this winter COVID surge, it is vital that people get tested, continue to wear a mask and get their vaccine," Huang added.
On Tuesday, the Parkland Health & Hospital System said it was also opening a new site. With testing provided only by appointment, the site will be at 1936 Amelia Court, and the testing will be free of charge.
"To help keep our community safe during this winter COVID surge, it is vital that people get tested, continue to wear a mask and get their vaccine." - Philip Huang, DCHHS
Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott asked President Joe Biden’s administration for federal assistance to grapple with the latest surge in the coronavirus.
"Detecting COVID-19 and preventing COVID-related hospitalizations are critical to our fight against this virus," Abbott said in a statement. "Testing sites, additional medical staff, and continued shipments of therapeutics from the federal government will help us continue to save lives and mitigate the spread of COVID-19."
On Monday, Dallas County added more than 15,000 new COVID-19 cases to its tally; that number includes totals from a three-day backlog. Since the pandemic first hit in early 2020, the county has recorded more than 452,000 cases and 5,780 deaths, according to health authorities.
Last week, Dallas County raised its COVID-19 risk level to red.