COVID-19 test sites continue to see increased demand on New Years Eve – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Some COVID-19 testing sites that would otherwise be closed for New Years Eve opened on Friday to meet increased demand.
One of those sites that stayed open on Friday is the TEXRail North Side station in Fort Worth. Brian Tezeno, code compliance officer for the city of Fort Worth, said the site saw at least 500 people when it closed at 5 p.m.
“With the demand and the needs of the community, we opened it today,” Tezeno said. “About two weeks ago we were doing double digit numbers and it’s still three digits since the Christmas holidays.”
The Fort Worth site is not the only place that has seen an increase in demand. Alyssa McElya, director of operations at Neighborhood Medical Center in Dallas, said they started seeing more people needing testing about 10 days ago.
“We actually broke our record from last year to this year. Last year the record was 940 in one day. This year we hit 1,058 in one day. Everything is owed to Omicron. It’s just crazy, ”McElya said on Friday. “These are people who care about their loved ones and do something. These are people who are actually symptomatic and want to know if they have it or not. This is someone who has been exposed, and they are freaking out a bit.
McElya said he broke the record on Wednesday when the wait time for a test was around two hours from when someone arrived at his site until he was finished. With three staff members sick with COVID-19, she said they were even more understaffed than usual and the wait time on Friday was around four hours.
“I arrived at 4:30 am this morning just to try and get things done,” she said.
Governor Greg Abbott announced on Friday that the state had requested resources for federally funded testing sites, medical personnel and additional federal monoclonal antibody allocations. Regarding testing sites specifically, Texas has requested support for the following counties based on current COVID-19 measures, including positivity rate and hospitalizations: Bexar, Cameron, Dallas, Harris, Hidalgo and Tarrant.
“Detecting COVID-19 and preventing COVID-related hospitalizations are critical to our fight against this virus,” Governor Abbott said in a prepared statement. “As the Biden administration has cut supplies of monoclonal antibody treatments and testing kits when they are most needed, the state of Texas is urging the federal government to step up this fight and provide the necessary resources to help. to protect Texans. Testing sites, additional medical personnel and continued shipments of federal therapeutic products will help us continue to save lives and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. ”
In North Texas, the DFW Hospital Council reports an increase in the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
“We’re at 1,834, which is really the highest we’ve hit in about 85 days,” said Chairman Stephen Love. “I had a meeting with our chief medical officers late last night. They said the majority of patients were not vaccinated.
When asked about Gov. Abbott’s request, Love said he was happy the state was asking for more testing sites and resources.
“We think it’s very important. We certainly respect that he asked for more medical staff, ”Love said. “In previous outbreaks, the state has done a tremendous job in trying to provide us with additional staff. We definitely want to get as many monoclonal antibodies as possible. Politics aside, we like what he asked for and hope we can achieve those goals.
Healthcare providers have said they expect the increased demand for testing to continue for weeks. These racing sites said on Friday they were ready to meet demand, but they require patience.
“Come with a full tank of gas. Come with something to entertain you and be patient with us. We are doing our best,” said McElya.
To find out where to get tested, click here.