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Odessa COVID-19 testing site sees influx of people getting tested

Thursday was the first day the testing site opened UTPB, but they had to close early. The city doubled the staff working the site Friday to keep up with demand.

ODESSA, Texas — A surge of COVID-19 and an overwhelming demand for COVID-19 testing-both are problems we saw in 2020 and continue to see today.

Right now, so many people are getting tested for COVID-19 that the City of Odessa has had to open a second testing site. 

NewsWest 9 spoke with Phillip Urrutia, Assistant City Manager for the City of Odessa. He said the testing sites are were created to provide relief to the medical facilities.

"The hospitals have reached out and said they needed more testing resources," said Urrutia. "The ERs and the clinics were being overwhelmed so in response the city partnered with DOCS health to provide testing at UTPB park."

Thursday was the first day the second city testing site opened. Urrutia said so many people showed up they had to close early, which caused the city to double the staff working to keep up with demand.

"As we discussed in our social media and website, we were overwhelmed," said Urrutia. "We did have to close the site temporarily, but we were able to open it back up as we have secured additional testing materials and added additional staff."

According to Urrutia, on Thursday 317 people were tested at the UTPB Park location. Urrutia said the city will continue to monitor the situation either for worse or for better.

"On both sites we have agreements until the end of the year to have them here," said Urrutia. "If we see a peak in demand, we can definitely ramp those sites up even further or if the demand does diminish we could reduce the service or close them as needed."

This week the UTPB site is only offering PCR tests. Next week it will have both PCR and antigen tests.

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