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Drive-thru coronavirus testing center up and running in Southeast Texas

14 people were tested on the first day the site was open. Officials are prepared to administer 20-25 tests a day, and they're expecting more test kits to arrive.

Drive-thru coronavirus testing is up and running for the first time in Southeast Texas.

14 people were tested on the first day the site was open. Officials are prepared to administer 20-25 tests a day, and they're expecting more test kits to arrive. They say the tests are averaging about five minutes per patient. 

Located at the Jerry Ware terminal at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport in Nederland, the center serves five counties across the region. That includes Jefferson, Orange, Hardin, Newton and Jasper county residents, and Tyler County could soon be added to the list. 

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Before you can even take the test, there is a screening process to go through. 

First, you'll need to call the regional hotline number at 409-550-2536 to be pre-screened. Callers will be asked a series of questions about their symptoms and travel history. County officials warn, anyone who skips this step and tries to drive straight up to the testing site will be turned away. 

Next, if it's determined further screening is necessary, you'll be assigned a patient number and an appointment for the collection site.

On the day of your appointment, you'll go through three checkpoints once you arrive at the airport. At the first stop, you'll need to have your ID and assigned patient number with you. 

The next checkpoint is the triage station. That's where more screening will take place. Health officials will take your temperature, and ask some additional health questions.

From there, your last stop is where the actual test is administered. A practitioner in full protective gear will take a nasal sample from you, all while you're still in your car. Health officials say it isn't painful, but may be uncomfortable, and it takes about three seconds. 

Once that's over, you'll get your discharge instructions explaining what to do until your test results come back. Samples are then sent to a testing site in Houston,  and results will take anywhere from 5-7 days.

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So far, there are 10 positive cases across the five counties, and one additional case in Chambers County. Seven of the cases are in Beaumont, one in Lumberton, one in Silsbee and one in Orange. 

The call center has received 648 calls since it opened last Friday. Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick says they received 400 calls Tuesday morning. 

The Call Center will continue to be open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Residents of the five counties who are experiencing symptoms like fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, or who believe they have been exposed to an infected individual will need to call 409-55-2536 to be evaluated for testing.  

County officials are asking people just looking for information about coronavirus to please NOT call the call center. Instead, they want them to call 211, or visit SETINFO.ORG

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