A steady line of cars moved through the parking lot of the Grayson County Health Department, 515 N. Walnut, Tuesday as the first day of free COVID-19 testing got underway.


The Health Department announced last week that it would be doing the drive by testing at its Sherman site and by 10:30 a.m. more than 50 cars had made their way through the testing center.


The testing center will be open until 7 p.m. each week day for the next two weeks.


Free to Grayson County residents, those interested must sign up for the exam on Gogettested.com.


"GoGetTested and our lab partners test for live virus using FDA approved lab based PCR process," the site says about the types of test provided.


In order to get tested, individuals must answer a series of questions about health status and the kinds of medication they take. They will be asked to take a photo of their insurance, if they have any, but they are not going to be charged for the test and it does not count toward their insurance.


Those who sign up will be given an appointment. Once they arrive at the Health Department, they will wait in their cars where someone will check their identification and then send them on up to the crew who will actually perform the test.


"This disease has impacted every single one of us, and we are living through something we never thought we would. It’s brought us together and made us stronger as a health department team," Health Department Director Amanda Ortez said in April.


She also said her team knows that they all have a role to play in this fight and that they need each other to get through this. Previously, the bulk of the COVID-19 reporting work was handled by the local health department.


At a commissioner’s court meeting in April, Ortez praised her team for their work in making sure information has been as easy as possible for the public to understand.


"I couldn’t do it without them. They are all truly amazing and I’m extremely thankful for every single one of them. Our Local Health Authority, Jerry D. Bennett, M.D., has shined through this all," she said.


Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said the county has contracted the work out to an outside agency and that the results should be back, at the latest, in 96 hours.


"I think that (96 hours) is a worst case scenario. I think we'll see a lot better turn around time than that," Magers said.


The testing will be available from 8.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday for the next two weeks.


"Hopefully," he said, "this is going to free our (people at the ) Health Department to do their other functions," Magers added.


Because it is an oral swab test, people are encouraged not to eat or drink anything for 20 minutes before they are going to get the test.