Comal County to begin drive-thru testing as coronavirus cases continue to climb

‘We believe that this type of testing is probably going to kick off next week’

SAN ANTONIO – On Friday, Comal County enacted a ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order that goes into effect Saturday morning and will last through April 30th, unless it’s extended.

This comes as the county judge expects more positive cases to be confirmed in the coming days and weeks.

As of Friday morning, Comal County said there have been 199 tests conducted. There are 18 positive tests, 124 negative tests and 57 tests are still pending.

Comal County Judge Sherman Krause said there is a growing problem with the spread of COVID-19, but it doesn’t surprise him.

“Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen more and more testing available and more and more testing being done,” Krause said.

Krause said they have been in constant communication with local hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic and drive-thru testing could come to the county very soon.

“They don’t really want someone that might have COVID-19 coming into a doctor’s office, coming into the hospital and potentially exposing other people to the virus, especially some of our health care providers,” Krause said.

Krause said the county has a location and equipment needed for a possible drive-thru testing site.

“We believe that this type of testing is probably going to kick off next week,” Krause said.

Comal County officials said you will still need a physician’s referral for drive-thru testing.

A New Braunfels emergency room facility is already testing.

Lonestar 24-hour ER in New Braunfels has also changed the way they interact with patients.

When a patient comes to the facility with potential COVID-19 symptoms, they are asked to call the facility from inside their car.

Testing can be done in the patient’s car, but if they need additional screening assessments, they are told to go to another area.

“We have them drive all the way to the side, close to our ambulance bay area and that’s where further screening is done by our physician and our nurse,” said Joan Cajilig, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Nursing Officer at Lonestar 24 HR ER.

If the patient meets criteria for COVID-19 testing, they do a nasal swab test and they send it out to labs.

“The turn around time for CPL (Clinical Pathology Laboratories) is about 24-48 hours,” Cajilig said. “Quest Diagnostic, it can vary from five to seven to 10 days.”

Cajilig said at this facility, they have tested 12 people for COVID-19.

If you live in Comal County and have questions, call their public health hotline at 830-221-1120.

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