FORT WORTH, Texas — Tarrant County surpassed 50,000 COVID-19 cases Tuesday, the same day officials announced three new efforts to help with testing and contact tracing.
1: At-home testing pilot
“We don’t want anybody to have any barriers for testing and that’s the reason why we’re adding these tools so that people can have different choices and different options,” said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja.
Since this is a pilot program, Taneja said they are operating on a very limited capacity to start. For now, only 50 at-home testing kits will be available on a daily basis.
How to request an at-home test kit:
- Go to: www.tarrantcounty.com/selftest
- Request a kit.
- If available, a test kit will be mailed to you within a day or two.
- Once it arrives, follow the instructions and conduct the test yourself.
- Send it back and wait for the results.
While these tests are convenient, Taneja said there’s always the risk that people don’t do the test correctly. Since the county pre-pays for these test kits, Taneja also said they could lose money if people request the test kit – which costs about $130 – and then don’t end up doing it.
“So there’s a lot to learn,” Taneja said. “So we want to try it for a couple of weeks and then slowly maybe we’ll expand capacity.”
2: Self-reporting tool
“You’ve heard me express frustration that when data delays and data dumps happen, some of those cases are 30-days-old (and) 60-days-old. We found even some 90-days-old being reported. What do you do with that?” Taneja said. “The contact tracing effort is best within the first 14 days. So to overcome that challenge, we’ve come up with this self-reporting tool.”
How to self-report your positive COVID-19 case:
- Go to: www.tarrantcounty.com/covidreport
- Fill out the form
- Upload a picture of your test results.
3: Answer the (contact tracer's) call
“About 47% of our people in the county that tested positive, for one reason or the other, did not respond to the call,” Taneja told county commissioners Tuesday morning. “We were unable to get to them. And this is a nationwide trend. About half of the folks that have had COVID-19 across the country have not responded to public health for the contact tracing efforts.”
Tarrant County is launching a campaign, encouraging residents to "Answer the Call" when contact tracers reach out or call the county’s COVID-19 hotline at 817-248-6299 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Click here for more information.
However, if you’re not comfortable answering a call from a number you’re not familiar with, you can fill out an online survey.