Long lines, increased demand for COVID tests across Texoma
GRAYSON COUNTY, Texas (KTEN) — As the new year begins, some people must meet new requirements for work, and the demand for COVID-19 testing has significantly increased over the last few weeks.
Texomans are now struggling to find tests near them, especially tests that won't break the bank.
On Wednesday morning there were long lines at the Wilson N. Jones Regional Medical Center testing site in Sherman, with many people waiting hours to get swabbed. That's just one location that's seen an influx in people looking to get tested.
"When I first started we were getting maybe 29 patients, you know, a day and now it's like up to 300 a day," said test site administrator Quala Love.
Eric Hendricks was in the long line, but said it was worth the wait to get the paperwork he needs to return to his job.
"I called work, they told me to quarantine, and said I could come back sooner than the quarantine period if I get a negative PCR test," he said. "Going online, I found a PCR test, but it wasn't until this coming Sunday, it was close by. I found some sooner, but they were 40-50 miles away," he said.
Jared Chisum said the WNJ site was his only available option.
"I tried to go to Advanced Labs, they're booked up until Friday. I knew WNJ was doing it, so I drove around and got in line," he said.
"I'm someone who doesn't make a lot of money, so for me to go and pay like $200 something, I can't do that," said Kailih Cox. "I had to call like 10 to 15 places to find one that would do one for free."
With COVID-19 cases on the rise in both Texas and Oklahoma, testing in Texoma is expanding.
Oklahoma Health Department District 9 is extending office hours to accommodate the demand.
A new Grayson County site offering free PCR and rapid tests opened in Denison on Wednesday. It's located at 1515 South Armstrong Avenue, and is open Monday through Saturday. Appointments are not required; more information can be found here.
That site plans to open a Sherman location in the coming weeks.
"We've already had a few cars tell us thank you for what we're doing," said project manager assistant Alma Bejarano. "We had a line earlier, and we're just knocking them out."
CVS, Walgreens, local pharmacies, urgent care centers, and doctors' offices all offer COVID tests, but you'll want to call ahead to check availability and cost.