City making up for gaps left by UMC drive-in site closure - FOX34 Lubbock

City making up for gaps left by UMC drive-in site closure

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The loss of the county's largest drive-up screening for coronavirus at UMC is leaving big shoes to fill. On its busiest days, the hospital accounted for almost half of the total tests administered in the entire county, and a total of more than 16,000 total tests given since March. 

Meaning, the Patterson Branch library testing site is getting busier. 

The free clinic is now open weekdays 9 A.M. to 12 P.M.,  to make up for the closure. 

It's the only drive-up clinic run by the health department. 

"My biggest concern was access to testing for individuals who are low income or don't have insurance. We really want to make sure that there's equitable access to testing throughout the community," Public Health Director Katherine Wells said. 

UMC cited a critical supply shortage with the lab it partners with in Austin as the reason for its permanent closure. Wells does not believe that is an issue the city shares, as of right now. 

"We entered into contracts with about 3 different labs, so when we start the Patterson clinic in the morning, we look at which lab has the fastest turn around of the ones available to us," Wells explained. 

Paramedics from Lubbock Fire Rescue are helping the expansion process as well.

"We were able to bring in some of our EMTs who we have trained over the last couple of months on how to do the swabbing," Wells said. 

The clinic now has a capacity to give 30 tests an hour, and is still growing. Appointments through the health department are required ahead of time.

To make an appointment, you can call the department's number at (806) 775-2933 from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.

"We also have the Texas Department of Emergency Management coming in," Wells said.


The gymnasium at Hodges Elementary will be used for one of TDEM's testing sites.


For the next 3 weeks, the state will offer testing at both Hodges Elementary and Rodgers park on Wednesdays and Thursdays,  10 A.M. to 4 P.M., no appointment needed. 

"That will really help ramp up testing even more in our community," Wells said. 

UMC has also added new rapid-test clinic locations.

Wells believes with this combination, there is still enough testing available.

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