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Mobile testing sites coming to Bell County due to crowded ERs

Posted at 10:58 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 00:05:11-04

A rise in COVID cases has come with a rise in people wanting to get tested for COVID-19 and more, many are going to the ER to get help.

But overcrowding is becoming a problem that can be avoided.

"With that, it’s creating a strain on these emergency departments that are already strained with the influx of people that they deal with on a day to day basis,” said Bob Reinhard, Bell County Emergency Management Coordinator.

The overcrowding of emergency rooms is why Bell County will have a mobile COVID testing site for the next two weeks.

"We have 14 consecutive days that we have contracted with a company called BioIQ, that will come in and move around this mobile testing site to different identified locations around the county,” said Reinhard.

The mobile testing site that Bell County is offering is a testing option that officials at Baylor Scott & White are grateful to see their patients have.

"So, if they choose to go to an alternate site, just for the purposes of being tested, they are actually helping us take better care of the community and the patients that are truly sick,” said Dr. Stephen Sibbitt, chief medical officer at Baylor Scott & White - Central Texas Region.

Baylor Scott & White also said it will be a much faster option than coming to the ER if all you need is a test.

"We give first priority to how sick you are," said Dr. Sibbitt. "So, if patients come in to get tested and solely to get tested for COVID, they may wait some time.”

Whether it's other treatments that can be done outside of the ER, or for things like a simple COVID test, utilizing other options will help with overcrowding at local ERs.

"By your primary care, your specialists or and urgent care, then by all means," said Dr. Sibbitt. "But, if you don’t know where to go and you need help, then come to our emergency room, we’re going to help you.”

The location of the Bell County mobile testing site will change daily and test results will take 48 hours because the tests are lab tests and not rapid tests.

Health professionals said if you can use other options for treatment, or COVID testing, then you should. But, if you feel it is an emergency then you should go straight to the ER or call 911.