Houston ER seeing double the normal number of people seeking COVID test

A surge of people are getting tested for the holidays. One facility in Houston said their daily testing numbers has doubled in the last several weeks.

Experts are recommending folks consider getting tested after they’ve been to a group gathering and before they see additional people for the New Year holiday.

Memorial Village ER offers both rapid and PCR COVID testing 24/7, with a drive-thru option available until 3 p.m. 

"It actually increased during the holidays and we commend patients for coming in and getting tested before going out for festivities and hanging out with family and, you know, trying to be safe. We went from about 500 to 1,000," said Tiffany Gass, Memorial Village ER's facility administrator.

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Gass believes the surge in COVID-19 testing is likely due to a combination of folks getting tested after traveling and gathering in groups for Christmas, as well as a precautionary measure before potentially seeing additional people for New Years.

In fact, Memorial Village ER is now offering off-site, mobile testing for any businesses that may be interested.

"We're looking to team up with bars, restaurants and clubs and we're willing to test all of their employees prior to their New Year's Eve festivities just so they can make sure that their place of business is COVID-safe," said Gass.

Tobias Dorzon is Rockets’ star James Harden’s personal chef and new business partner. The two are now in the final stages of unveiling their top secret, upscale restaurant ‘Thirteen’ in mid-January.

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With 60-70 staff members, their safety protocols include mandatory COVID testing every week.

"It's going to be 20-30 people in the building at all times. And we want to make sure that before we even open the door, that every employee that's working in here is safe before anything is ever spread," Dorzon said.

Once the doors open to the public, Dorzon said Thirteen will also be considering offering rapid testing for all customers dining in.

"You know, you want to be able to continue to strive in your business. You have to do everything that you can do to make sure that your customers are 100% comfortable with being in your establishment," Dorzon said.

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COVID testing at Memorial Village ER is free with insurance for those exhibiting symptoms, otherwise, a test costs $150 out of pocket.