Harris County, Texas - March 23, 2020, County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Dr. Umair Shah, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health, City of Houston partners on Monday announced an online COVID-19 assessment tool for residents who believe they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms such as fever or dry cough. The online screening tool is available now at ReadyHarris.org.
The sites will only test people pre-identified as high-risk through a two-step screening process. The initial screening will be online with only those meeting certain risk criteria moving on to a phone-based screening with a medical professional. Only after the phone screening will qualified residents be directed to a testing site.
Anyone requiring technical assistance or translations services is encouraged to call the Harris County Public Health call bank, which is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at 832-927-7575.
Residents are urged not to show up at a testing site without an appointment as they will not be seen, and this slows the process for others. Anyone experiencing a life-threatening emergency should call 911.
“We received supplies from the federal government to scale up our testing sites, and we are now open for business for the community at large,” Judge Hidalgo said. “Testing is a critical tool in helping us manage the spread, but it’s not treatment. We still don’t have a treatment for this virus or a vaccine. That’s why our best tool is to practice social distancing and stay at home.”
“This screening tool allows our region to self-assess. We know there are a lot of concerns in our community, with people worrying if symptoms require evaluation or testing,” Dr. Shah said. “The vast majority of people who complete this screening will be reassured that they don’t need testing or evaluation at this time.”
About half of all Harris County cases are related to community spread, Dr. Shah said.
Residents can go to ReadyHarris.org to begin the screening process. The online screening tool will be available in multiple languages starting tomorrow and will also be integrated with the City of Houston’s testing site in the coming days. High-risk symptomatic residents can be tested regardless of documentation status and there is no cost for testing. Each testing site will be capable of conducting 250 tests per day, per testing site. County testing sites have sufficient testing capacity for the next few days and County officials expect additional resources from the federal government in the coming days.
Visit www.readyharris.org for frequent updates. If you have a mental health condition or are experiencing stress or anxiety and need additional support, please contact: The Harris Center COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line: 833-251-7544 or Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990