WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Seven days a week, United Regional healthcare providers are posted up in a tent outside the Barnett Road Medical Building, testing our community for COVID-19.
Suited up in full personal protective equipment, the crew of healthcare heroes is making sure COVID-19 testing is quick, efficient and safe.
“Patients will pull up to those parking spots, they will remain in the vehicle, call the number on the signs,” United Regional Physician Group Director of Primary Care & Subspecialty Maria Avalos said.
“And then drive on back and see us, we will explain the procedure to you, you will meet a nurse and one of our URPG providers and we’ll get you swabbed right there in the car,” URPG FNP-C Tosha Chesar said.”You won’t have to get out or anything else.”
To best understand if and when to get tested, there are different things to consider. If you’ve been exposed to someone for longer than 15 minutes without a mask, quarantine. Then if you do develop symptoms, head to the URPG Barnett Road Medical Building.
Chesar works in the COVID-19 testing tent and sees it first hand. She said to not take even minor symptoms lightly.
“I’ve had patients come back positive that have had nothing more than diarrhea, I’ve also had the patient that argued and argued that these are allergies, that it’s nothing more than allergies, I get this every year,” Chesar said. “We went ahead and swabbed, the swab came back positive and then his symptoms got significantly worse and he ended up hospitalized.”
While it’s recommended you do not get tested without symptoms, there are some exceptions.
“We are also able to meet the needs of other patients who are asymptomatic or who have not been exposed,” Chesar said. “Patients for example who need clearance for work or would like to see their loved one again that’s in the nursing home.”
The emergency department at United Regional is well equipped to handle just that, emergencies.
If you think you have COVID-19, but don’t have severe symptoms like chest pains and shortness of breath, don’t go to the emergency department.
“It is so important that patients not backup and overload the system so that our people that are in distress are able to go to the ER and get treatment,” Chesar said. “We’re here to keep their flow down and to make sure our patients aren’t waiting forever and being exposed to more harmful things via the ER.”
One of the most important things is that if you’re waiting on your test results, do not leave the house.
Also, don’t let money stop you from getting tested in the first place.
“We do accept most insurances including Medicaid, Medicare, tri-care and most private insurance and we’ll bill the insurance if there’s any out of pocket, we’ll bill that to the patient after the test is completed,” Avalos said. “We also have financial assistance programs that people can apply for, we don’t want finances to be a barrier for patients receiving care.”
URPG is offering testing seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. They are closed on major holidays.
They also want to remind people there are a number of places to get tested.