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 are in various stages of developing 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 criteria for a Person Under Investigation (PUI) status. These criteria include:

  • Travel to certain geographic regions
  • Exposure to other individuals who may have confirmed infection with COVID-19
  • Severity of the illness at time of evaluation

Individuals who have mild symptoms and have traveled to a region where transmission has been noted can still be considered for testing with guidance from their physician. Blood and respiratory samples may be taken for testing of a variety of conditions including flu at UT Southwestern labs. If warranted, samples may be sent to the CDC, which has developed a test that can detect SARS-CoV-2. The CDC does not recommend testing asymptomatic patients. The value of testing asymptomatic patients is unknown at this time.

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 opened a COVID-19 Drive-Up Specimen Collection Site at Visitor Parking Lot No. 18 at Paul M. Bass Administrative and Clinical Center. This is open 7 days a week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

At this time, 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.

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.