Houston, Harris County working to open COVID-19 testing sites

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says the city and Harris County have been approved for four Coronavirus COVID-19 testing sites, and the goal is to have one open by the end of the week.

The mayor says FEMA approved two testing centers in the city and two in the county.

TIMELINE: COVID-19 cases in the greater Houston area

Mayor Turner told FOX 26 on Wednesday morning that the goal remains to open at least one, if not more, by the end of the week.

"From a logistical point of view, locally we have done everything we need to do. We are ready. But we are waiting on what we call PPEs, personal protection equipment, to be brought in by FEMA," Mayor Turner said. "And then secondly, we are waiting on the nasal swabs to be brought in by FEMA. Those items are on a truck as we speak coming in from the Midwest.”

FILE PHOTO: A NHS nurse holds a Coronavirus testing kit as she speaks to the media at a drive through Coronavirus testing site in a car park on March 12, 2020 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

He says once those items arrive, the testing centers can begin to operate.

“It doesn’t mean that once testing starts everyone will be able to come. There is a certain protocol," Mayor Turner said.

According to the mayor, people will be able to go on a website for an initial screening and assessment, they will then be screened again by a nurse, and then they will be given an authorization number and directed to a testing site.

“It will be an orderly process. You just can’t show up. You have to follow the protocol," he says.

On Wednesday, Harris County health officials also said in a statement that the testing sites have not opened and the public should not show up to a location they may have heard was a testing site. 

“If you show up without being properly screened, you will NOT be tested for COVID-19, and your presence could unintentionally put others at risk, cause delays, and interrupt the healthcare professionals who are working expeditiously to open the testing sites,” according to the Ready Harris alert.