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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

COVID tests on the rise in the Permian Basin

Urgent care clinics are seeing more people coming in and using drive-through testing.

ODESSA, Texas — Over the last month, the Medical Center Health System Urgent Care Clinics in Odessa have seen a 30-40% increase in COVID-19 nasal swab tests.

"One thing is the swabs are available." Chris Tovar, Divisional Director for the urgent care clinics said. "So before the conservatory of swabs were basically saved for those that were actually presenting with the criteria for COVID-19, meaning they made all clinical signs and symptoms and they were actually in a high-risk area." 

The other reason has to do with Texas opening back up. Tovar said that opening everything back up, even at 50% in Ector County, would lead to a higher number of people being exposed to the virus.

But how many patients are these clinics seeing on average now?

"We have seen a rise based on what we had from about a month ago. So we probably do anywhere from at any point in time between 30 upwards of 50 swabs a day, so we have seen a rise in COVID swabbing," Tovar said.

The urgent care clinics under Medical Center Hospital believe that they have an efficient method for testing for the virus as well as taking care of their regular duties.

"A process that we have for all three clinics is pretty efficient. My West and my JBS clinic are seeing predominantly urgent care patients. Our 42nd clinic is seeing nothing but swabs. If it slows down our process we can intake urgent care patients, if I don’t have a risk of cross contaminating non-infected and non-suspected patients with suspected patients," Tovar said.

Even the hospitals and clinics in Midland are seeing a rise in administered tests. Midland Memorial Hospital has seen a steady increase in the number of drive-through tests. Last week, they administered 14 tests on just one day, but have seen that number jump to 28 tests today.

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