FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - The Tarrant County Public Health lab joins others in Dallas and across the state with its capability to test for COVID-19.
Labs in Houston, El Paso and Lubbock can also now test for the virus.
While there are no confirmed coronavirus cases in North Texas, the ability to run tests locally speeds up the fight to stop any potential spread.
"If a person tests positive for virus, the first 48 hours is critical, because epidemiologists act as disease detectives," explained Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. "They find people who've had contact with patient zero."
To put things in perspective, if there is a person already in self-isolation, based on their travel outside the country, if they've been seen by a doctor their lab samples can be sent to DCHHS and depending on the backlog they could have results with 24 hours that could end their quarantine.
In addition to Dallas County, DCHHS will also perform tests any specimens sent to them from Collin, Ellis and Kaufman Counties. Officials say having the ability to test for the virus in a number of North Texas counties increases "regional preparedness in response to this emerging public health issue."
for more features.