You should discuss testing with a provider if you are mild to severe upper respiratory symptoms like cough, shortness of breath, or fever. You might also choose to get tested if you are experiencing symptoms or have been around someone with a known exposure to COVID-19. HealthCare workers and First Responders are also encouraged to consider being tested.
Is testing helpful?
For the individual: If you have symptoms, a positive COVID-19 test will not affect how you need to be medically cared for. Until further protocols are developed by trusted sources, treatment for COVID-19 will mostly include mitigation of symptoms and ensuring that you make your best possible effort to limit the spread of the illness to others. Medical professionals can walk you through different ways to limit the impact of your symptoms no matter which virus is causing them. However, individuals with a positive test will know with more certainty that they need to follow strict self-quarantine practices and can take more stringent efforts to safeguard any at risk people they may live with.
For general population health: An increase in testing availability is important for public health officials and epidemiologists to have better information to track the general health of the local population. As they inform government officials of how to mitigate spread, having more population health testing results data will help make accurate decisions on closing or re-opening various social activities.
For learning about the disease: The collective results from testing a higher percentage of the population allows epidemiologists to track the disease and learn more about its nature and how it is spread.
Do the tests we have right now work?
With any type of medical testing, there will always be a percentage of false positives and false negatives. As this novel strain of coronavirus is new, the technologies around testing are also new and will continue to improve in the days to come. We won’t know the details around accuracy until scientists have been able to review the data over a period of time. But even with flu tests, which have been around for a number of years, there is an average of a 30% false negative result. This does not make the test useless, but it does help remind people that testing is not the one quick fix solution. It is part of a larger strategy. This is one of the key reasons we are requiring individuals who come to this site to do so in partnership with a provider. As they navigate a negative or positive test, their provider will be able to educate them on how to treat whatever symptoms they may be feeling.
Isn’t testing already available if someone needs it?
Somewhat. At the time of writing this, there are a couple testing sites in DFW. Many are for-profit only and will accommodate only individuals that have insurance or are able to pay a flat rate. Individuals without insurance (and anyone else) can lean on the Dallas County resources at American Airlines Center or Ellis Field testing centers. They have around 1000 tests available each day.
As the city of Dallas seeks to open back up to normal operations and as individuals attempt to return to work in the weeks to come, testing accessibility will become more and more crucial.
Sometimes, transportation may be a limiter as well. Opening more locations will only continue to assist in the benefits of testing.
Who is allowed to get tested?
Any individual who has a referral from one of our partner providers. Click here to find out how.
Note: There is an avenue for the uninsured to be able to have a provider visit and testing.
Why does the site require a provider visit?
At the core of quality healthcare is a strong patient/provider relationship. It can be tempting to think a test is a fool proof way to know what to do regarding your healthcare and all you need is a positive or negative result. However, it is much more complicated than that (see above about the accuracy of testing and benefits of testing). By working with a trusted healthcare provider you’ll be able to have someone to answer your questions about testing, help you navigate what to do with the results, and even help you determine if a test is needed. Sometimes your symptoms can be treated without a test being needed. Your provider will help you navigate the best solution for you based on your unique needs and situation.
What will they do to test an individual?
Currently, the testing we have access to is the pharyngeal nasal swab. Nurses will use that swab (it will look like a long q-tip) to collect specimen in the upper nasal passage (the swab will go up your nose). They’ll then package it and send to a lab. Collecting the specimen can be uncomfortable and cause you to sneeze or cough.
How fast is the testing process? When will I get results?
Collecting the test will take less than 10 minutes. There will also be added time on site for administrative needs and paperwork for accurate record keeping.
To get test results, it is a 3-4 day turnaround. Your provider will call you with the results.
As the global healthcare community develops point of care testing (faster turnaround) and resources are made more widely available, we will gladly initiate these tests as well.
What will you do to keep me and others safe on site?
Testing patients will stay in their car at all times. If you are a patient, please do not come to the site expecting to be able to use restrooms or exit your car. We will not be able to accommodate that request.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness spread in droplets. To be infected by someone else you would have to inhale droplets they expel by talking, sneezing, or coughing OR come into physical contact with a surface with infected droplets on it and have that droplet enter via mouth, nose, or eye.
To mitigate the possibility of being infected, our site will take multiple strategies into consideration.
First, in doing testing outside, we drastically limit the exposure risk of droplets expelled from an infected individual circulating in an enclosed room. A gentle breeze outside as well UV rays from sunlight naturally remove droplets and sanitize them.
Second, we also will have staff in the appropriate PPE, including masks and face shields for those interacting with patients. With this protection the likelihood of a droplet from an infected individual pass to an uninfected individual. The face shield is a physical barrier, and the mask serves as a barrier for both access to and from the mouth and nose. As always, staff will change gloves between patients, to prevent cross contamination of patients.
Additionally, our team will use the appropriate CDC and epidemiologist recommended cleaning tactics to sanitize any surfaces that are used.
As with all things, there is always some risk. But the above safety precautions as well as appropriate donning/doffing procedures for staff in PPE are in line with the most stringent practices and ways to protect from exposure.
How much does it cost?
To be tested you will need to initiate the process with a provider. To do that you can click here.
For those with insurance, your provider will explain the details of cost of test.
For those without insurance, Watermark Health will provide the testing free of charge. To speak with our providers there is a suggested $10 donation. We will never prohibit services for someone due to inability to pay.
If you have financial means and would like to help cover the cost of testing for someone that is uninsured, you can help! The tests will cost Watermark Health $70 each to run. You can donate to cover for that cost via our website here.
What are the hours and Location?
Testing is available Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm at the Watermark Community Church Dallas campus.
Your provider will indicate where you are specifically to go.
Please note, we will not accept patients that just drive up. You need to begin the process by consulting with a provider.
Who is running the test site?
The site is being run as a partnership between Watermark Health (a ministry of Watermark Community Church) and Questcare/Envision Physician Services. These two entities have had a working partnership the past 7 years to run non profit urgent care clinics in DFW that serve over 12,000 patient visits for the uninsured every year.
Why is a ministry of the church doing this?
As the novel strain of the coronavirus has continued to spread worldwide, it is clear that widespread testing availability will be a key part of providing the correct diagnosis, accurate public health information, and allow providers and patients to implement best practices in limiting the spread to uninfected individuals. We continue to see city officials and public health officials call for more testing sites. As DFW seeks to learn how to best open up services, testing will be a helpful component in understanding both the spread of the disease as well as which individuals are healthy. We also continue to have a talented staff and volunteer pool of medical and pastoral professionals. In short- there is a need, and we can help meet it. Not only will this site open up access to the general public, but it is also specifically service the uninsured community.
All throughout scripture we see that God’s people are blessed to be a blessing. In this time of great need and uncertainty in our world, the church has the opportunity to be a solution to both physical and spiritual needs. By deploying the same partnerships that we’ve been able to provide excellent medical care through the last 7 years, we’re able to open up this additional service to the community. In Jeremiah 29:7, the people of God are reminded to seek the welfare of the city they’re in. Opening a testing site for the insured and uninsured is just one way we’re able to do that during COVID-19.
What else do people need to know?
COVID-19 is an ever-changing situation. We are excited to serve you in this way, but ask that anyone interested in testing remain flexible and adaptable. Your provider will be your best point of contact for questions on your healthcare needs after testing occurs.
For general information on COVID-19 and what you can do to protect yourself or treat any symptoms at home, see our website here.