DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As more testing for Covid-19 becomes available, the CDC has widened the criteria for those who can be tested at federally-supported drive-thru sites, such as the American Airlines Center and Ellis Davis Field House in Dallas.

Since the change April 27, the incident commander of the two Dallas sites, Randall Payton, said he has noticed a difference.

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“We’re seeing a lot more participation since we expanded the criteria and yes, we’ve seen more positive cases coming through that. Please come visit us, that’s what we’re here for.”

Payton said for seven of the first nine days of the expanded criteria, they have reached capacity at each site of 500 tests or 1,000 combined.

About 400 of those tests each day are reserved for Parkland Hospital nurses to test nursing home residents and the homeless.

The CDC has also expanded the number of symptoms for Covid-19.

Payton said, “You could have a fever, a cough, a shortness of breath, you could be over 65 years of age, you could also be anyone with chronic health issues, underlying issues.”

Aside from first responders and healthcare workers who can get the tests whether do or don’t have symptoms, certain other workers can now as well at the Dallas sites.

They include DART bus drivers, grocery store employees and workers at other essential retailers.

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Dr. John Carlo, a former Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services said it’s a good idea. “If they’re part of an essential workforce, or a healthcare worker or grocery store worker, there are good reasons why you may want to get that test.”

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This allows them to find out if they have the virus so they can isolate themselves before getting coworkers or customers sick.
There isn’t one set of criteria used for people to get a test for the virus. It depends who is supplying the test and where you have it.”

At drive-thru testing sites operated by certain Walmart and Walgreens, they follow the CDC’s guidelines.

Kroger announced Wednesday afternoon they will also offer free testing for the virus at two locations, one in Dallas and one in Fort Worth.

People must first register at the company’s websites so they can be screened to determine if they meet the guidelines.

Hospitals have their own criteria for testing people for the virus.

And now that hospitals are allowed to perform medical procedures again, some are now testing all of those patients for the virus 48 hours beforehand.

Dr. Carlo said, “There’s all these different variables. Ultimately, it does take more judgment in terms of when you should test and when you should not. But this is not really unusual – we do this everyday in medicine.”

Dr. Carlo says while the tests to detect the virus are mostly accurate, they do have limitations.

He said the results are a snapshot and are good only on the day it was taken.

Just because a person tests negative for the virus, doesn’t mean they can’t get the symptoms and test positive in the days that follow.

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