Responding to COVID-19


About Testing

How is COVID-19 tested?

Currently, testing can be performed through the CDC, state and/or local health departments, and other commercial labs such as LabCorp or Quest. Multiple academic medical centers and commercial labs have developed their own test kits for COVID-19.  

Learn more about our COVID-19 pricing.

Who should be tested for COVID-19?

The CDC has developed testing guidelines for a Person Under Investigation (PUI) and set priority levels. These include:

High Priority

  • Hospitalized patients with symptoms of potential COVID-19 infection, including: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, vomiting or diarrhea, and/or sore throat
  • Health care workers, first responders, and workers in congregate living settings with symptoms
  • Residents in long-term care facilities or other congregate living settings with symptoms


  • People with symptoms of COVID-19 infection
  • People without symptoms who have known exposure to others with a confirmed infection of COVID-19
  • People without symptoms who are prioritized by health departments or clinicians for any number of reasons, including public health monitoring

COVID-19 Testing at UT Southwestern

Drive-Up Testing for Patients

In response to the needs of our community, we’ve expanded our capabilities for COVID-19 testing. 

We have two COVID-19 Drive-Up Specimen Collection Sites:


Only UT Southwestern providers can refer UT Southwestern patients age 12 and older to the drive-through testing site.

Patients with a scheduled appointment for testing should enter the parking lot via Harry Hines Boulevard and drive along the most northern driveway until they are in the north parking lot. Signage guides traffic into and out of the drive-up site. Campus Police and Public Safety Officers will also be present to direct traffic.

Fort Worth

Only UT Southwestern providers can refer UT Southwestern patients age 12 and older and requires a referral order.

Presurgical COVID-19 Testing

Beginning Monday, April 27, we will require COVID-19 testing for all patients awaiting surgical procedures. Testing allows us to move forward after we have confidently ruled out COVID-19.

Care teams will need to have test results for review 24 hours ahead of a scheduled procedure. To ensure we have the results within that 24-hour period, patients will need to be tested within 72 hours prior to a scheduled surgery or procedure.

Our presurgical testing team will order the test. At this time, we ask that providers and clinics refrain from placing the order locally, and instead rely on the presurgical testing team to order the test. The attending provider will need to sign off on this order.  

Although we prefer that patients are tested at UT Southwestern, we will also accept results from a UTSW-approved local health department testing facility.

It’s possible that a patient’s procedure could be canceled based on results, but decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis and will take into account the patient’s individualized plan of care.