Houstonians rushing for last-minute testing ahead of Christmas gatherings

This year, it is not just a last-minute rush for presents.

Folks are also making a last-minute dash to get COVID-19 tests before heading over to see loved ones.


Some independent emergency medical centers offer testing 24/7.

"In the last few days, because of Christmas and everything, we've been seeing about 1,000 to 1,200 patients per day," said Tiffany Gass, Facility Administrator at Memorial Village ER.

At Ascent Emergency Medical Center, the patient count has also doubled.

"There are a lot of people in Houston who are trying to be responsible and be tested before they gather with others who are not in their household," said Erica Littlejohn-Burnette, Facility Administrator at Ascent EMC.


Ascent EMC offers two types of tests -- SalivaDirect with results within 24 hours, and BioFire with results within an hour.

"We have a BioFire test that is a nasal swab. It not only tests for [COVID-19] but it also tests for the flu, for several strains of the common cold as well as for RSV and other ailments," added Littlejohn-Burnette.

She says people can get tested inside or in their cars. Memorial Village ER in West Houston also offers testing 24/7.

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"We offer a rapid test and a PCR test. The rapid test we've been resulting in 2-3 hours and then the PCR test is resulted in about 2 days," explained Gass.

Gass also says people can opt to get tested from their cars. "We do have a physician out here on-site that is seeing the patients from their cars. We also have nurses and we also have an entire team that is getting their vital signs and getting them swabbed and just kind of moving the process along," she added.

The Rapid Covid Testing on Southwest Freeway was slammed on Christmas Eve until closing at 1 p.m.  It'll open 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on New Year's Eve. However, it will close on Christmas and New Year's Day.

Due to the CARES Act, most private insurance co-pays are waived.

If you do not have insurance, tests are the mentioned sites range from $100 to $275.