Caldwell County gets its first drive-through COVID-19 test site
By Wesley Gardner
The city of Luling on Tuesday became the first city in Caldwell County to implement a drive-through site for residents to be tested for COVID-19.
Through a partnership with national telemedicine company Cura Telehealth, Post Acute Medical will use it’s more than 40 post-acute specialty hospitals to host the drive-through sites, including the Luling location located at 200 Memorial Drive.
According to Cura Telehealth CEO Dr. Clinton Baird, residents can sign up for the service by visiting www.cura.com and following the instructions listed on the site. Through the site, residents can either provide a previously obtained doctor’s referral for testing or use the site to set a teleconference with a doctor to determine whether testing is needed.
The drive-through site will have the capacity to administer roughly 500 tests a week, Baird said.
Baird noted that both nasal swabs and blood draws will be available to conduct the testing. With the nasal swab, those being tested will be able to determine whether they are currently infected with COVID-19, while the blood sample will be used to determine if that person had previously been infected.
While the blood sample cannot be used to determine whether a person is currently infected with the virus, Baird said it was still important for a number of reasons.
“Right now, in the United States about .03 percent of the population has been tested in total, so 99.97 percent has not been tested,” said Baird. “We know, of course, that there’s more of the population than that that has had the virus or have been exposed and had it asymptomatically.
“That’s an important consideration because now you know when you go out in the community that you’ve had some exposure and you’ve developed immunity, meaning you’re going to be safer in the front lines.”
Baird also said that those who tested positive and have fought off the virus can donate their plasma to help other patients battling the disease.
When a person’s body recognizes a virus or other foreign substance in its system, the body produces a blood protein known as an antibody to help fight off the substance the body recognizes as alien.
By donating plasma that has already produced these antibodies, Baird said doctors could combine compatible samples and then transfuse the plasma into a sick person to help them fight the infection.
Baird noted the cost for each test individually was $169, which would include an appointment with the doctor if they tested positive.
According to officials with Ascension Seton Edgar B. Davis in Luling, the hospital is also providing COVID-19 testing, though residents will need to go through a screening process to determine whether they will be tested.
Officials noted residents who feel they are experiencing symptoms can call Ascension Texas hotline at 1-833-919-1680 from 6 a.m. to midnight to go through the screening process.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists COVID-19 symptoms as a dry cough, fatigue, fever, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing.
Caldwell County currently has seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday evening, and two of the individuals have recovered, according to the county’s Office of Emergency Management.
The United States now has more than 605,000 confirmed cases, resulting in 25,757 deaths, according to data provided by John Hopkins University.