Here’s where you can get free rapid testing in Nederland, Port Arthur

Published 12:40 am Thursday, January 6, 2022

NEDERLAND — Yanivska Sousa and Rene Marti were just two of dozens standing in a drizzling rain Wednesday to get a free rapid COVID test from a facility on Nederland Avenue.

While the two aren’t experiencing symptoms, they’re preparing for a trip out of the country to visit relatives. But due to travel requirements put in place last month, they are required to show negative test results to leave the U.S.

“Cuba is not a good place to visit now because of the COVID,” Marti said. “But we have to for the family.”

Rene Marti got a rapid COVID test Wednesday at a facility on Nederland Avenue. (Monique Batson/The News)

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The facility, funded by the Center for COVID Control and under the direction of Branda Bevlaqua, has been in the Market Basket parking lot since October. But recently, it’s been impossible to miss as lines often snake around the pavement.

It’s one of three centers Bevlaqua, an LVN, operates: one at 1708 Jefferson Drive in Port Arthur and one in Sulphur, Louisiana. Locations in Jasper and Beaumont will be opening soon.

Bevlaqua said Nederland was her first site, following with Port Arthur in November and Louisiana last month.

Results are given to patients within 15 minutes, emailed to them, and also reported directly to the Centers for Disease Control.

“With the spike in COVID we have seen a lot more people,” she said. “Some days it’s half and half, and some days I see more negative than I do positive. But here lately — this week — I have seen more positive than negative, especially after the Christmas break.”

The Port Arthur Health Department on Wednesday reported 112 new cases of COVID-19 for Port Arthur, Groves, Nederland, and Port Neches. There are confirmations of 51 for Port Arthur, 19 for Groves, 29 for Nederland and 13 for Port Neches.

On Tuesday, the health department reported 120 new cases — 72 from Port Arthur, nine for Groves, 26 for Nederland and 13 for Port Neches.

The Regional Infusion Center still has monoclonal antibody treatments for those who test positive, said Jefferson County Public Information Officer Allison Getz. But there is a limit to how many can be administered each day, and the center — which serves four counties — is being inundated with calls.

Getz asked those with the virus to be patient when calling 409-550-2536 to schedule an appointment.

As for the testing centers operated by Bevlaqua, no appointment is necessary.

“It’s completely free,” she said. “No insurance needed.

Vaccinations for those 5 and older are available at the Texas Artist’s Museum, 3501 Cultural Drive in Port Arthur, on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

RELATED: One in four COVID tests reported to the state are returning with positive results