Clinics in Hot Springs add to COVID-19 testing capabilities

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Testing for COVID-19 continues to expand across the state. Still, the Arkansas Department of Health and hospitals have to prioritize who gets that test. A group of clinics in Hot Springs is working to add to the testing capabilities.

Getting your hands on a COVID-19 test has proven to be difficult in the state of Arkansas.

“You can’t beat something you can’t test for,” HealthStar Physicians CEO Rachel Wallis said.

To bridge that gap, HealthStar is pitching a tent and taking drive through’s at several of their locations.

“There are a lot of people that are coming out of cities, from Little Rock and surrounding areas,” HealthStar Physicians Office Manager Tara Weatherford said.

Like many hospitals and other testing sites, they could only test high risk patients at first. As  their resources have expanded, so have their testing capabilities.

“It’s any patient who is symptomatic that comes in,” Weatherford said.

Now they are capable of doing 4,000 tests a day but they haven’t had that many patients.

“Some days we do up to 100 patients and it’ll just dwindle down during the week. On the average I say we do about 70 patients a day,” Weatherford said.

She says some of those patients may not even have a fever.

“And they’re testing positive,” Weatherford said.

As hard as it is to see each positive result, these physicians know they are doing their part to help flatten the curve.

“It’s a huge blessing. Like when I really think about it I get emotional because it’s just, to hear other companies not have this it’s heartbreaking,” Weatherford said.

HealthStar Physicians has three tent locations in Hot Springs: FirstCare Walk in Clinic, Lakeside Family Medicine and Fountain Lake Family Medicine. The tent hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Outside of those hours the FirstCare Clinic will test patients if they call ahead and physicians will meet them at the back of the building. They also have clinics in Mena and Glenwood.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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