Mobile tests went quickly - Odessa American: Local News

Mobile tests went quickly

By Michael Merlo mmerlo@oaoa.com | Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2020 3:33 pm

 After 125 people signed up for the majority of tests an hour before Tuesday’s city mobile COVID-19 testing began, city officials are telling residents to show up early to future events.

City of Odessa Public Information Officer Devin Sanchez said in a phone interview that, “It was early by the time 200 tickets were given out,” and she heard that some people had arrived as early as 6 a.m., for a test.

As Ector County residents arrived to Sherwood park for the testing, they were handed out tickets labeled one through 200 to ensure efficiency.

Two hundred tests are available at each Odessa mobile testing and those who showed up to Sherwood after all the tickets were given out were told to go to the other mobile testings, Sanchez said.

“Advice for the next event is to show up early,” she said referencing the Thursday testing at Woodson Park that will start at 11 a.m. and end at 1 p.m., adding that she thought people would be in line at around 8 a.m.

The mobile testing began in part by the state and city concerns which focused efforts to offer free coronavirus tests in underserved parts of the community. With the amount of people turned away during Tuesday’s testing, Sanchez said that, “We kind of changed our messaging a little bit from anyone who wants a test to come out, to anyone who needs a test to come out.”

“We want to make sure that everybody who needs a test who has been exposed or who is exhibiting symptoms receives that test,” she said adding that what the city doesn’t want is people to just get a test because it’s free.

“If you have not been exposed or you have no reason to believe that you have COVID, maybe sit this out. There will be other events, but let those people who truly truly need it obtain a test.”

Sanchez said that there is no pre-registration and there is no way to tell if people are from those neighborhoods where tests are being conducted, but she said that if people, “can obtain a test another way, if you have the means or you are insured or you have a way to obtain a test a different way, there are people in our city who cannot.”

The tests for uninsured patients at certain Odessa urgent cares can run up to around $350 and Sanchez wants people to ask themselves if they are taking the opportunity from people who truly need it when they sign up for a free test.

She went to the first testing as a spectator and said she felt the people who showed up to get tested were the people who needed one in that community.

She said that she hoped people who were turned away will try to get a test on Thursday.  

“The last thing we want is for anyone to have it and continue to spread. We’re doing this to try to slow down the spread of this virus in our community.”

As Clinical Pathology Labs saw a spike in tests last week, Mayor David Turner said that the first Tuesday and Thursday tests would be able to get into those labs just fine, but that he was concerned with delayed results for the future tests.

Sanchez said that the Tuesday and Thursday tests aren’t going to bypass any of the recent lab time restraints, but that CPL would take the Tuesday and Thursday test specimens.

She also said that after a phone call with CPL Tuesday, labs will be able to accept all the scheduled tests and the city will be able to continue all the test dates as they were originally scheduled.

Sanchez said she wanted to remind people attending the mobile testings to wear masks, bring a form of identification, not to bring family unless they are being tested and if a child is getting tested to let them know what they are in for before they have to get swabbed.

A representative from an Odessa CPL declined to comment on how are they dealing with a surge in tests. Sanchez said more information would be available later regarding the lab that the city of Odessa is using to process the mobile testing.

 More information regarding the city mobile testing can be located at https://tinyurl.com/y8a8hz8r.

A Tuesday Ector County press release detailed that the county will also be conducting free COVID-19 mobile tests this week for those turned away from the Tuesday and Thursday city tests.

Tests will take place from 9 a.m., to 5 p.m., Wednesday at Kellus Turner Park at 2230 Sycamore Drive and another test will take place at the same time on Thursday at the South Ector County Volunteer Fire Department.

The release detailed that those getting tested must be Ector County residents and must register for the tests at https://tinyurl.com/ya7wody9 or call (512) 883-2400.

“Due to overwhelming scheduling of appointments, website and phone number may be unavailable at this time however you can still go to one of the locations and you will be tested,” the release stated.

In other COVID-19 news:

CBS 7 reported that a 31-year-old man died of COVID-19 at Odessa Regional Medical Center on Monday night.

A CBS 7 report also detailed that H-E-B will start requiring customers to wear masks in all their stores on July 1.