FREE TESTING NOW

Free Houston-area drive-thru coronavirus testing now available to those experiencing symptoms

Houstonians experiencing coronavirus symptoms can get tested for free starting this week. Photo by Getty Images

As local, state, and national government urges Americans to social distance and self-quarantine if ill, Houstonians are feeling the malaise of fear grip them as coronavirus testing questions still go unanswered.

Starting on Thursday, March 19, locals will have some respite, as Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, chair of the Congressional Coronavirus Task Force, announced that free testing is available here.

The free testing will be held at United Memorial Medical Center, located at 510 West Tidwell Rd.. Those suffering from potential coronavirus/COVID -19 symptoms can visit the center at these dates and times:

  • Thursday, March 19: 10 am - 8 pm
  • Friday, March 20: 8am -6 pm
  • Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27: 8 am - 8 pm

This comes as President Trump signed a Congressional bill on Wednesday, March 18, which allows people with symptoms of the coronavirus to be tested for free.

The Center for Disease Control says that reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The documented number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. now tops 9,500; experts are calling it exponential growth. Meanwhile, Houston has seen a spike in cases: As of Wednesday, March 18, some 19 new cases of coronavirus were announced by local and county officials, bringing the total number of cases to 62. That marks the highest spark of reported cases thus far.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap. Click here for latest update to the story.

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Building Houston

 
 

Re:3D is one of two Houston companies to be recognized by the SBA's technology awards. Photo courtesy of re:3D

A couple of Houston startups have something to celebrate. The United States Small Business Administration announced the winners of its Tibbetts Award, which honors small businesses that are at the forefront of technology, and two Houston startups have made the list.

Re:3D, a sustainable 3D printer company, and Raptamer Discovery Group, a biotech company that's focused on therapeutic solutions, were Houston's two representatives in the Tibbetts Award, named after Roland Tibbetts, the founder of the SBIR Program.

"I am incredibly proud that Houston's technology ecosystem cultivates innovative businesses such as re:3D and Raptamer. It is with great honor and privilege that we recognize their accomplishments, and continue to support their efforts," says Tim Jeffcoat, district director of the SBA Houston District Office, in a press release.

Re:3D, which was founded in 2013 by NASA contractors Samantha Snabes and Matthew Fiedler to tackle to challenge of larger scale 3D printing, is no stranger to awards. The company's printer, the GigaBot 3D, recently was recognized as the Company of the Year for 2020 by the Consumer Technology Association. Re:3D also recently completed The Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator this year, which has really set the 20-person team with offices in Clear Lake and Puerto Rico up for new opportunities in sustainability.

"We're keen to start to explore strategic pilots and partnerships with groups thinking about close-loop economies and sustainable manufacturing," Snabes recently told InnovationMap on the Houston Innovators Podcast.

Raptamer's unique technology is making moves in the biotech industry. The company has created a process that makes high-quality DNA Molecules, called Raptamers™, that can target small molecules, proteins, and whole cells to be used as therapeutic, diagnostic, or research agents. Raptamer is in the portfolio of Houston-based Fannin Innovation Studio, which also won a Tibbetts Award that Fannin Innovation Studio in 2016.

"We are excited by the research and clinical utility of the Raptamer technology, and its broad application across therapeutics and diagnostics including biomarker discovery in several diseases, for which we currently have an SBIR grant," says Dr. Atul Varadhachary, managing partner at Fannin Innovation Studio.

This year, 38 companies were honored online with Tibbetts Awards. Since its inception in 1982, the awards have recognized over 170,000 honorees, according to the release, with over $50 billion in funding to small businesses through the 11 participating federal agencies.

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