COVID-19 testing demand rises in the RGV as cases increase

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HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Hidalgo County Health Authority says demand for COVID-19 testing has gone up dramatically these last few weeks. And with more testing needed, it means more work for testing labs.

“These numbers are dramatically and increasing and I am concerned that people are not aware or not connecting because they are fatigued,” said Dr. Ivan Melendez.

As of Aug. 4, the health department has reported 335 probable COVID-19 cases within Hidalgo County. That means those people are waiting to get tested or waiting to get their results.

“The problem is that the demand right now is so high,” Dr.Melendez said. “I had two different patients call me… Wednesday and they have to wait until the day after tomorrow until they get tested, in the meantime, they have to sequester because they are suspicious.

COVID-19 testing sites are now widely available for people in the Valley. Curative, which is a company that operates 29 testing sites across the Valley said they have been seeing a big uptick in testing not only locally but all over Texas.

“Testing numbers have gone through the roof,” said Curative Field Manager Jamil Sabbagh. “Curative is working hard diligently to staff up to provide as much testing as possible since it’s needed to end this pandemic.”

Curative only has one testing lab in Round Rock, Texas that receives all of its tests across the state. Sabbagh said by getting more staff can help speed up the testing process.

“It’s about a three to five hour commute time plus 17 hours to get results, so you are looking about under 24 hours,” Sabbagh said. “Obviously you will have some outliers on both ends of the spectrum some are faster others are slower.”

But as this pandemic continues, Dr. Melendez says there need to be even more opportunities for people to get tested in the Valley.

“We absolutely need more testing and we absolutely need a more rapid and organized approach to it.”

To find a testing site and book an appointment with Curative you can visit their website.

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