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FEMA to assist in Austin-area COVID-19 testing efforts, APH says

Demand for testing continues to surge in the Austin area.

AUSTIN, Texas — As the Austin area continues to see a surge in demand for COVID-19 testing, local health leaders could soon be getting some federal assistance.

During its COVID-19 media briefing on Friday, Austin Public Health (APH) Chief Epidemiologist Janet Pichette said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be sending a crew to Austin.

"So our testing operations have been surging lately, you know, and so there have been a couple of things that we have done to kind of help enhance and get testing available to the community at large," said Pichette. "... I heard from FEMA, who will be dropping in a team to help support and expand our testing operations in the Austin-Travis County community."

Pichette added that APH is also working with other contracts to expand testing operations around the Austin community. She added that they are also in the process of securing contracts to purchase rapid antigen tests that can be distributed throughout the area during APH community outreach events.

APH also allows you to pre-register for tests at multiple locations around the Austin area, including the George Morales Dove Springs Recreation Center and the Travis County Exposition Center. Registration is not required but can, again, help speed up the process. For more information, including details on in-home testing for residents with mobility issues, click here.

Nomi Health has been operating a free testing site at the Toney Burger Athletic Complex since Jan. 8. That site is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., offering both antigen and PCR tests to drive-thru patients.

Appointments are not necessary but pre-registration can help speed up the process. To pre-register, patients can text 512-229-9919 with “BACAISD” to fill out a contact form that will provide a QR code that on-site testers will need. That form can additionally be filled out on-site using a cell phone. 

KVUE has reached out to APH for more specifics on how FEMA will be assisting in the Austin area. This story will be updated as information becomes available.


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