KILLEEN, TX — Over the past seven days, Killeen ISD has had 66 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to their COVID dashboard.
Now the district, thanks to a partnership with the state, will be able to provide COVID-19 rapid screenings to all students and employees.
With thousands of students back in the classroom, officials say this screening will help control the spread of the virus across the district.
For months, Tina Murker and other KEA members say they have been asking the district to step up in regards to COVID-19 precautions.
“I mean, we always as KEA have wanted them to do more, but this is like a good step. This isn’t going to protect people from getting COVID, but at least if we do develop symptoms to know that we can get tested and not have to have it come out of our pocket," said Murker.
“Our goal is to mitigate COVID-19 as much as possible on our campuses and across our district by using all programs available to us, including these rapid screenings. We knew that once these rapid screenings were available, we had to take advantage of that opportunity,” said Taina Maya, Chief Communications & Marketing Officer for KISD.
The screenings will soon be available for all students and staff. Maya says screenings will be available to those symptomatic and asymptomatic.
So that actually is based on our in-person population, and then every month we'll be able to receive a new allotment once we show that we have given 50% of those screeners out past the 30 day," she explained.
“It tests for something called an antigen, which is a protein level in the blood because it’s only testing for the proteins," said Dr. Erin Reed with Advent Health.
This type of testing allows for the rapid results. But this type of screening can't replace a traditional COVID-19 test. Both Maya and Dr. Reed stress the importance of going beyond the screening result if the outcome is positive
“Getting tested beyond the screener is key," Maya said.
“Those tests can take a bit longer to come back, but you’re actually testing for the genetic material of the virus. Those can be more accurate at times,” said Dr. Reed.
Dr. Amanda Robinson-Chadwell, Director of Bell County Public Health District, says as more people begin to get screened through this program, the positive results will not impact the positive case numbers for the district. However, it will instead fall under probable cases until they get further testing.
Testing will be being on Thursday, December 3 at the former Nolan Middle School building on 505 Jasper Drive in Killeen from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. 6 p.m.