Coronavirus

UTSW, UNTHSC, and Catalyst Team Up to Test First Responders

The Tarrant County testing site will help identify those who may not have shown symptoms.

A partnership between the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. UT Southwestern’s Moncrief Cancer Institute, the Fort Worth Fire Department, and Catalyst Health Network has created a drive-through testing site in Tarrant County for first responders not yet showing symptoms for COVID-19.

Test results can ensure a safe return to work rather than wait out the 14-day self isolation after a possible exposure, which is the current policy. Those who are eligible include police, fire, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and constables.

“Our first responders are on the front lines of this health crisis, working tirelessly to protect all of us from this deadly pandemic,” HSC President Michael R. Williams said via release. “This new testing site will help protect our first responders and keep those who are healthy out in the community providing their valuable services. We are proud to support these heroes.”

For those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or are at higher risk, other testing processes will be in place. “Through our partnership, we are able to test first responders and get results back in five days at the longest but possibly within about 48 hours,” said Dr. Mark Chassay, HSC Chief Clinical & Medical Officer via release. “That means more first responders can decide with their supervisors whether it is appropriate to return to their job duties sooner.”

For first responders who may need to be tested, they should contact an Infection Disease Coordinator at the Joint Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the City of Fort Worth, who will determine if testing is needed. The responder will be contacted with 48 hours to schedule a test.

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