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Where can you get a COVID-19 test in North Texas? It's complicated

Rapid at-home tests are scarce, lines at public (and private) testing sites across the region are growing every day and there's not much clarity beyond the confusion

DALLAS — As the spike in omicron cases continues and quarantine rules change, there’s a lot happening ahead of our junior year of the coronavirus pandemic. 

And, honestly, it’s getting a little confusing.

Rapid at-home COVID tests are scarce, and finding test sites isn’t as easy as opening up Google Maps anymore. The Texas Department of State Health Services has an online tool to help find a test.

The lines at the free public testing sites across Dallas and Tarrant counties  -- and even the paid private ones -- are growing longer and longer in size by the day. 

Starting Saturday, if you buy a COVID test, you will be reimbursed. The Biden administration announced the change Monday as it looks to lower costs and make testing for the virus more convenient amid rising frustrations. 

RELATED: Like JPS in Fort Worth, COVID hospitalizations doubled in less than five days at Parkland Hospital

It's a lot to parse through.

That's why we’ve compiled the below information concerning what we know about the current outlook on testing options -- and, frustratingly, what we still don't.

At-home COVID tests

Many people across North Texas have been rushing to stores like CVS and Walgreens to purchase at-home COVID tests. As the demand rises, though, CVS has publicly said it's limited customers to six at-home testing kits per purchase, while Walgreens is limiting customers to four. 

That's just the corporate line, though. Some stores we've been to say they've been limiting test purchases to a single test per customer -- and they're still running out of tests completely and within just a few hours of getting new shipments.

Online ordering more your speed? Amazon says it has the tests in stock -- but, even for Prime members, delivery is expected to take days. 

The Texas Hospital Association says if you need a COVID test due to recent exposure or mild symptoms, seek care at a pharmacy, doctor's office, or dedicated testing site. This helps ensure that resources for critical care emergency departments are accessible, the association tweeted.

RELATED: At-home COVID-19 tests are in scarce supply in Texas while public testing sites see a rise in demand 

COVID testing sites

With both Dallas and Tarrant counties upgrading the COVID threat back up to "red," many are returning from vacations and holiday trips in search of testing sites.

Officials have ramped up testing efforts by setting up additional testing locations, and federal officials on Jan. 5 said they were set to open COVID-19 sites in six Texas counties, including Dallas and Tarrant. Those site locations have not been released yet.

RELATED: Federal government approves state request for six COVID-19 testing sites

Here are links to each major county's suggested testing locations, including hours and days of operations:

  • Dallas County
    • Mountain View Campus, 4849 W Illinois Ave - Monday-Saturday, 7:30 am.-6 p.m. (Ends Monday, Feb. 28). More info here.
    • Richland Campus, 12800 Abrams Rd- Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. (Ends Monday, Feb. 28).  More info here.
    • Ellis Davis Field House at 9191 S. Polk Street in Dallas, Monday - Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Appointments are required. Click here to make an appointment
    • The Cove Aquatic Center at 3201 Samuell Boulevard in Dallas, Monday - Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments only -- click here to schedule or call 469-536-0807.
    • Dallas College North Lake Campus at 2000 W. Walnut Lane, Irving, Monday - Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments required.
    • Trinity View Park at 221 E. State Highway 356, Irving, Monday - Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments required.
    • Thurgood Marshall Rec Center at 5150 Mark Trail Way, Dallas, Monday - Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments required.
    • Fair Park at 2000 Galsford St. Lot 13. (Opens Jan. 12). Sunday - Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are strongly encouraged.
  • Tarrant County
    • Three testing sites hosted by the City of Fort Worth are open to everyone:

    • Monday-Friday

    • TEXRail North Side Station, 3001 Decatur Ave., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    • Tuesdays

      • FWISD Scarborough-Handley Fieldhouse, 6201 Craig St., 8 - 11:30 a.m.
      • Como Community Center, 4660 Horne St., 1 - 4:30 p.m.
    • Thursdays

      • FWISD Scarborough-Handley Fieldhouse, 6201 Craig St., 8 - 11:30 a.m.
      • Como Community Center, 4660 Horne St., 1 - 4:30 p.m.
  • Denton County
  • Collin County

CVS provides free testing through its Minute Clinic locations, searchable here. The only problem? Most locations don't seem to have any available appointments for at least a week.

Walmart is offering testing through Quest Diagnostics, and Walgreens also has drive-through testing locations, though limited availability and turnaround delays are likely.

Another option? Finding a local pharmacy that is either offering testing or has at-home tests available. It likely will take some searching around.

Biden’s COVID tests giveaway 

President Joe Biden says the federal government will buy half a billion COVID-19 rapid test kits and distribute them free of charge to people to use at home. But it will still be several more weeks before the kits are available to be shipped. 

The administration is still working on details for how the program will work.

The Biden administration says the departments of Defense and Health and Human Services are working on a contract that’s expected to be signed soon.

The first delivery of testing kits is expected in early January. Yet, White House press secretary Jen Psaki says the new government website to request them will not be functional until after the first batch of kits are delivered.

It’s also unclear what at-home tests will be sent to Americans.

RELATED: Here's how Biden's COVID-19 test giveaway will work