Houston Health Department Expands COVID-19 Test Sites to Everyone

The Houston Health Department’s two COVID-19 drive-thru sites are now open to anyone who wants to get the test. The capacity for tests has doubled, allowing 1,000 people to be tested per day (500 at both locations).

To get a test, you must call the department’s COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220 between 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM to receive a unique identification code and instructions on where to go for testing and how to obtain test results. You must get the identification code. People who show up at the test site without the code will not get tested.

The testing sites will continue operating until further notice.

Workers at the sites only collect insurance information and do not accept payment. The information obtained through testing or services will not be used against immigrants in their public charge evaluation.

Visit houstonemergency.org/covid19 for updated information about local risk, routine protective actions, frequently asked questions, communication resources, rumor control, emergency preparedness tips, and more.

Helpful Links

Here are few links to helpful resources and updates from the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management:

Policy Changes and Executive Orders at the local, state, and federal level: click here for a detailed spreadsheet.
COVID-19 Closures: click here.

Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Cagle’s COVID-19 Community Resources: click here.

Stay Home Work Safe Information

Government Services and Assistance


The Houston Permitting Center now has most services online in order to protect the community by reducing the number of customers in waiting areas.
All services (including permits, certificates of occupancy and temporary certificates of occupancy) are available online, except for:

– Fire Prevention permits (Houston Fire Department)
– Auto Dealers & Identification (Houston Police Department)
– Boiler Operator’s Testing
– Stationary Engineer’s Testing

Customers will have limited access to the Houston Permitting Center building. In-person visits will only be scheduled by appointment.
Visit houstonpermittingcenter.org

BARC- Procedural Changes Due to COVID-19

Due to the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus, BARC has been in discussions with other Texas animal shelters and animal health professionals to determine the best safety measures to take for the public, our employees, and the animals in our care.

In the interest of maximizing social distancing while providing the opportunity for adoptions, wellness and other BARC services to continue to the public, effective immediately, BARC is implementing the following procedural changes:

Animal intake/ drop-off on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday from 12pm – 4pm will be a drive-thru service only until further notice. BARC will not turn away any sick or injured animals.
We ask the community to assist by not picking [up] any stray animals unless citizens are prepared to care for them at home.
We also request that non-emergency, owner surrenders (i.e. turning in an owned pet) be postponed allowing BARC the resources to deal with emergency surrenders resulting from the current crisis.
BARC is providing pet food and crates, as available, to all citizens to support them in keeping animals in their possession. Other resources are available as well.
Public Wellness/ Foster Clinic/ Surgery Pick-ups will all be a drive-thru service until further notice.
Lost Pets/ Return to Owners will park vehicles and walk-through BARC.
Foster and Rescue Pick-up will sign-in to online service and animals will be brought to vehicles in the parking lot.
Pet Adoptions is now a drive up process at 3300 Carr street.
BARC will continue to maintain normal operations as well as regularly scheduled service hours for all services (adoptions, foster & rescue pickups, wellness, lost pets, and bite case) until further notice.

Thank you for your patience and continued support; we apologize for any inconvenience these new measures may cause. We understand that limiting the number of customers in the shelter at any given time will result in longer wait times, but we ask for your patience and understanding as we do everything we can to maintain the health and safety of our customers, our employees, and the animals in our care.

For more information please visit: http://www.houstontx.gov/barc/.

Food Assistance

United Way – Dial 2-1-1 for assistance. Local resources available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have also set up a COVID-19 Relief Fund to help with bills, rent, and food. For more information or to donate, please visit: the United Way webpage.

Houston Food Bank Helpline – Dial 832-369-9390 to receive food help.

Collaboratory for Aging Resources and Education (CARE) – Dial 346-704-4233 to receive senior aid or for any senior caretakers.

Texas Health and Human Services – To apply for Texas Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) due to loss of income click here.

National Food Assistance – To find out how to get food in case of an emergency, apply for food stamps and what free or low-cost food programs are available for infants, children and seniors click here.

Crowdsource Rescue – Crowdsource Rescue is a Houston-based disaster response non-profit. For no-contact food deliveries to high-risk Houston residents or to volunteer click here.

Financial Help

Houston Public Works – Mayor Turner announced that water will not be cut off for non-payment until April 30th. Please click here to set up a payment plan.

Small Business Administration – Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and some private non-profit organizations that have suffered economic injury due to COVID-19 may be eligible for an EIDL of up to $2 million, which will provide the necessary working capital to help businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster. Click here for more information.

Catholic CharitiesClick here.

Internet/Wi-Fi Services

Free Internet with Spectrum – Beginning March 16 and free for 60 days for households with K-12 or college students. They also plan to open their Wi-fi hotspots for public use. To enroll in service call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived.

Free Internet with Comcast – Effective March 16, new Internet Essentials customers will receive two free months of internet service. Comcast is also increasing the speed of the program to 25 MBPS downloads, and 3 MBPS uploads for all new and existing customers. To sign up online click here.

Houston Public Library Online – The Houston Public Library offers free online books and audiobooks for anyone with a library card. You can access all services offered here.

COMPUDOPT – Compudopt’s mission is to provide technology to students who need it most. They are offering rentable computers to families without a device free of charge. For more information click here.

Resources for Those Uninsured (Bilingual)

Ask my Nurse Helpline: Dial 713-634-1110

Memorial Hermann Nurse Health Line: Dial 713-338-7979 or 1-855-577-7979

Mental Health Resources

The Harris Center – Offers a 24/7 crisis hotline at 713-970-7000 option 1.

Crisis Text Line – Free 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the US to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones at 1-800-273-8255 or online.

COVID19 Emotional Support Hotline (Non-Emergency) – People who are feeling worry/anxiety/stress and just need a warm voice to talk to, please call 832-251-7544.


To see Metro’s COVID-19 response click here.

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