In collaboration between the Johnson County Emergency Management Office and the Cleburne Fire Department free COVID-19 testing is once again available in Cleburne beginning Thursday.
Officials from the Texas Department of Emergency Management will offer the testing through the month of December.
Testing hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays at the Cleburne Senior Center, 1212 Glenwood Drive.
No appointment or identification is necessary and there are no area restrictions on who can be tested. TDEM officials will also test children.
Those wishing to be tested should drive to the senior center during testing days. For information, call 254-781-1246.
“The Cleburne Fire Department worked with us on coordinating logistics for getting use of the senior center,” Johnson County Emergency Management Director Jamie Moore said. “And we coordinated logistics for getting state contractors to administer the test.”
Rising positive COVID-19 numbers prompted the call for additional area testing, Moore said.
“That and an increased demand for testing,” Moore said. “We wanted to make access to testing easier and available to those who can’t afford to pay for tests, don’t have insurance or for whatever reason can’t otherwise get tested. They will have the capacity at the senior center to perform a large number of tests.”
The procedure involves the PCR, or nasal swab, test, Moore said.
“Positive COVID-19 numbers have been up the last month in Johnson County,” Moore said. “Not as dramatically as the metropolitan areas around us but up by a steady amount. We’re expecting to see increases over the next week and a half because of the Thanksgiving holiday.”
Moore urged residents to continue wearing masks, washing hands often and practicing social distancing. Moore also encouraged residents to watch a COVID-19 safety video posted on the Facebook pages of the Johnson County Emergency Management Office and the city of Cleburne.
Mayor Scott Cain thanked Moore and Cleburne Fire Chief Scott Lail for their efforts toward the testing site. Cain also weighed in on possible additional COVID-19-related restrictions and progress on a vaccination.
“I am sure everyone is aware of the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases and it is starting to hit closer to home for all of us,” Cain said. “Under the governor’s current orders, it appears that in the next couple of days North Texas, including Cleburne, will hit marks that lead the governor to reduce business capacity from 75 percent down to 50 percent as well as closing bars and cancelling elective medical procedures.
“Our medical team, led by Chief Lail and Dr. Michelle Beeson, continue to receive medical updates regarding hospital capacity, trends regarding community spread and updates regarding best practices and the upcoming vaccinations.
“We continue to communicate with local businesses regarding mitigation of COVID-19 and city staff have adjusted to ensure continuity of services and safety for staff, their families and the public.”
Cain said he and others anticipate that vaccinations will soon be available.
“We were notified that once the vaccinations become available, Cleburne has been approved as an official vaccination site,” Cain said. “We do not have any details yet, but will get that information out as soon as we know.”
Cain urged residents to exercise common sense and continue following safety guidelines.
“Let’s do our part to keep one another safe and keep our businesses open,” Cain said. “I hate wearing a mask like everybody else, but if you can’t socially distance, please put on a mask. I know everyone suffers from COVID-19 fatigue, but we are getting close to getting through this and, if we can hang in there a little longer, we can all get back to a more normal life.
“I know we have strong feelings about COVID-19 and how to battle it, but please be kind and patient to one another. Quite frankly, no one has all the right answers or solutions and as we continue to work through these trying times, lets remember that COVID-19 is the enemy, not each other.”