The Mission CISD has partnered with Hidalgo County and Curative, Inc. to provide free coronavirus testing to anyone in the Rio Grande Valley.
On Monday, a kiosk at the Tom Landry Hall of Fame Stadium (702 W. 15th St. in Mission) opened to the public. The walk-up testing center at the Mission Consolidated Independent School District can be accessed from the gates on the Kika de la Garza loop.
Craig Verley, the Mission CISD Director of Public Relations and Marketing, said where a person lives in the Valley has no bearing on test availability.
“Even if they want to come from Cameron County, that’s fine,” Verley said. “The availability of affordable testing plays such an important role in helping control the spread and in figuring out what’s going on in terms of the pandemic here in the region.”
The kiosk will be open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the testing site will be open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Mission CISD first heard about the Curative, Inc. program through Hidalgo County, and applied to partner with them as a means of service to the community.
“One of the main focuses this whole school year has been about helping,” Verley said. “We’ve kind of changed our phrase of ‘changing the world’ to include the service aspect. So we’re changing the world through service this year, and this is just another opportunity to provide additional support for our community. We’ve been looking for more ways to do that as much as possible.”
Curative, Inc. provides a Food and Drug Administration-authorized (FDA) cheek swab test for COVID-19 that gives results within 24 to 48 hours, and is the more reliable PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) test. Testing is free to the public.
“To be able to have another place to get reliable testing done should be a great benefit to the public health officials in the area,” Verley said. “While they do ask about insurance and those types of things, if someone doesn’t have Medicare, Medicaid or insurance, they are still able to get the testing done at no charge to the patient.”
No appointments need to be set up to be tested, and individuals do not need to exhibit symptoms. Testing is limited to people aged five and older.
“We are excited to be able to help provide this vital service to our community,” Superintendent Dr. Carol G. Perez said. “Testing plays such an important role in the pandemic response systems. Being able to help provide a space for reliable and quick testing will be a real benefit for many in our area.”
The COVID-19 testing kiosk will be a manned testing facility, but the tests will be self-administered oral swabs. The Tom Landry Hall of Fame Stadium testing site can be accessed from gates on the Kika de la Garza loop.
Verley said there is no set end date for testing. The testing will continue until further notice, and will depend on how things proceed with the pandemic.
“As the word begins to spread a little bit more, I anticipate them getting probably a good steady flow of patients,” Verley said. “These times are challenging for everybody in so many different ways, and through this act, if we can help provide some of the additional support and services, then it benefits everybody.”