LUBBOCK, Texas – Cars lined the block from 52nd all the way to 50th early Friday morning anxiously waiting for the Health Department to start testing for COVID. As cases continue to rise, so does the number of people concerned about exposure to the deadly virus.
Despite the blistering cold with a wind chill around 10 degrees, the line began to form hours before the site even opened. Director of the Lubbock Health Department Katherine Wells said while testing sites are facing high traffic and working around weather conditions COVID cases are hitting record highs.
“We have a 46% positivity rate at our testing site. So of those 500 people 46% of them are coming back positive,” Wells said. “We’re also seeing about 1 to 2 percent of those individuals coming back with flu.”
Wells said the deep drop in temperatures called for the testing site to change their hours of operations temporarily due to weather conditions dropping well below freezing.
“We delayed that opening for two hours and extended its operating time just so that it was easier for staff to be able to swab without having to worry about frostbite or any other,” Wells said.
Other testing sites like Nomi Health’s testing site located at 82nd and Homestead are also experiencing high demand. Nomi Health’s Director of Operation Carolina Herrin said they’re asking for people to be patient while getting tested or while waiting for their test results to come in.
“With the antigen test, someone is a quicker test, usually you’re getting your results within an hour…” Herrin said. “The PCR tests, we’re looking at about 48 hours right now. And that’s just again, because our numbers during the surge just increased so much, but usually a 24 hour turnaround. Right now, we asked for that little bit of patience.”