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Head of COVID-19 testing company visits Sher-Den sites

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat
The COVID-19 testing site at Austin College, shown here, is open to anyone in the community who wants to get tested. For more information see GoGetTested.com

GoGetTested, now has sites at Grayson College in Denison, Austin College in Sherman and at the Grayson County Health Department in Sherman where people can be tested without having to show symptoms of the virus and without having to pay anything out of pocket.

Ahmad Gaber, CEO of WellHealth, Co-Founder and Partner of Axenic Health Solutions, of the GoGetTested health consortium, was in Sherman Thursday to talk about COVID-19 testing.

Students, faculty, staff, and members of the Texoma community can visit GoGetTested.com to make an appointment in about a minute, and can visit an on-campus test site to get tested usually in less than five minutes after arriving on site. Results come back to individuals in 40 hours — and often much sooner, according to a written statement from Austin College.

“Even with all of the safety protocols we follow, our ability to reduce virus transmission by identifying those who are positive for COVID was hampered by the lack of reliable, timely testing,” said Austin College President Steven P. O’Day, in the statement. “Now, however, GoGetTested has made PCR testing, the most sensitive and accurate test, easy to obtain. We have seized this opportunity by establishing an on-campus testing site.”

Both colleges use Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR, tests for students, faculty, and staff.

At the campus Thursday Gaber said their sites have not yet started using the rapid tests because they are not as reliable as the testing that is sent to the lab, but they are looking getting those rapid tests at some point in the future. He also said that eventually, they hope to provide other kinds of services at the testing centers in addition to the COVID-19 tests. Those services could include tests for the flu, for strep and flu shots. Gaber said that while the costs of the COVID-19 tests is covered under COVID-19 related legislation, costs for other services would not be.

He also said the sites at Grayson College, Austin College and the Grayson County Health Department will remain open as long as there is demonstrated need. His company relies on the Grayson County Health Department to make decisions about where the need for the tests might be the greatest at any given point.

At Austin College, the campus community’s morning begins with a required Health Screen every day using the Austin College Mobile App, reporting any symptoms and/or contact with a test-positive case of COVID-19. At Grayson College, the GoGetTested.com testing center helps to support the college’s daily screening and check-in processes.

Austin College Junior Kathy Tran, said the testing that has gone on at the college over the last week and the random testing that is ongoing has allowed her to feel secure about her health on campus. She is majoring in Healthcare Administration and said the college is enforcing the mask mandate and social distancing in addition to the testing.

She said it is important for people in her age group, 20s to 30s, to be mindful of the need to follow mandates to keep from getting the virus because it has been more prevalent in their demographic than in some of the older age groups.

“We’re very pleased with GoGetTested’s accuracy, reliability and portability,” said Austin College Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Lynn Z. Womble, Ph.D. “We were notified on a Thursday of the partnership, and the mobile center was on campus and ready to test the following Monday. We appreciate that the staff is multilingual. The entire process has just been so smooth – they’ve been a delight to work with.”

Womble said the colleges intentionally put testing centers on the edge of campus to make it easy for the local community to visit. Just register at gogettested.com, and select your site and time.

The Austin College testing location is in the parking lot west of Wright Campus Center, 1301 E. Brockett in Sherman. Austin College testing site hours of operation are from 8-11 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

The public can make an appointment on weekdays between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., but waits may be longer due to Austin College campus testing.

The Grayson College testing location is in the parking lot next to the baseball field at 6101 Grayson Dr. in Denison. Grayson College testing site hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.