3 days of COVID-19 testing planned for Port Arthur; check out how to participate

Published 12:12 am Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The Port Arthur Health Department announced it has partnered with Beaumont-based Riceland Health Care to provide free COVID-19 drive-through testing on three upcoming days: Wednesday (June 3) at the Downtown Pavilion, 500 Proctor St., June 9 at the West Side Development Center, 601 W. Rev. Dr. Ransom Howard Drive and June 11 at the Port Arthur Civic Center, 3401 Cultural Center Drive.

The tests will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Those wishing to be tested should call 409-983-8800 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to register an appointment.

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The Health Department will try to be as accommodating to date and time preferences as possible.

Those taking a test are asked to bring health insurance information. Anyone without insurance may still come and be tested at no cost, according to Judith Smith, Port Arthur director of health services.

“Anybody can get the test, whether you’re symptomatic or asymptomatic,” Smith said. “This is just the same procedure as at the airport. People were told to bring their insurance information, so it’s really the same process. There’s really nothing else added if they don’t have insurance. They still go through just like someone who does have insurance.”

The test involves inserting a swap into the back of the nose. Smith said while the test isn’t painful it could be uncomfortable for some people. Test givers will be outfitted with personal protective equipment, and anyone receiving a test that may be symptomatic is encouraged to wear a mask.

Those receiving tests should not leave their vehicles while at the test site.

COVID-19 tests take on average 48–72 hours to return results, Smith said, though in some cases it could take longer.

This is the first time the Health Department has partnered with Riceland to provide testing, Smith said.

“I was given Riceland’s name from the Beaumont Health Department,” she said. “I know that they had actually set up testing sites in Beaumont, and we wanted to do the same thing, at least to have days where we could actually have them come out and do the test, because we’re still getting a few cases here and there.”

Smith said that no more than 100 tests would be scheduled for each day.