Jefferson County gets regional drive-through test site for COVID-19

Published 10:52 am Monday, March 23, 2020

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NEDERLAND — A drive-through coronavirus-testing clinic to serve a five-county region, including Jefferson, has been established just outside the entrance of Jerry Ware Terminal at Jack Brooks Regional Airport.

Residents of Jefferson, Orange, Hardin, Jasper and Newton counties who are concerned they may have coronavirus, or COVID-19, are asked to call a hotline at 409-550-2536 first to receive a patient identification number. The drive-through will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays until further notice, but officials stress anyone who arrives without an ID number will be turned away.

The drive-through clinic is stocked with 300 nasopharyngeal, or NP, swabs, although PAHD Assistant Director LaTasha Mayon estimates 25 tests would be given per day.

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Mayon said those who receive the ID number and come at an appointed time will arrive at a checkpoint, then will go through a triage and be asked for a photo ID, the ID number, have temperature checked and be asked if he or she has been coughing, running a fever, experienced respiratory issues and battled nausea, considered symptoms of COVID-19.

Those who are triaged to the test station will take the nasal sample, which Mayon says takes 3 seconds to do. The sample will be sealed in a medium and put in ice before being shipped.

“We made this decision together as a whole,” Mayon said, asked about county officials coming together to establish the clinic. “Everyone will be treated equally.”

The Port Arthur Health Department still has not received any testing kits for COVID-19, department Director Judith Smith said Monday. However, Port Arthur still did not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19, one day after Gulf Coast Health Center confirmed an employee who lives in Beaumont has the virus.

That forced Gulf Coast’s Memorial Boulevard campus to close temporarily.

Smith said Monday she was unsure about a target date for the arrival of more kits at the PAHD’s downtown clinic.

“That’s why we’ve partnered with the county,” she said. “The emergency management coordinator put in the requests for the kits. This is a good thing where we can start [to test].”


About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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