By Mitch Borden
Midland Memorial Hospital is opening up a second coronavirus testing site that will be operational Friday beginning at 9 am. The drive-through testing site will be located at the Coleman Family Clinic on the southeast side of town. Appointments can be made by calling the hospital’s 68 Nurse hotline.
Hospital officials say the new location will have limited hours at first, but hope the testing site will be eventually able to serve about 100 people a day and deliver test results within about an hour of a visit.
Midland Memorial Hospital is introducing rapid testing at the Coleman Clinic. The hospital has recently experienced difficulty getting results from tests sent to private labs in a timely manner. Currently, Midland Memorial has approximately 400 tests pending.
The hospital plans to expand its rapid testing capabilities to its other drive-through testing site located at the facility’s West Campus. During a Facebook Live press conference on Thursday, Russell Meyers, Midland Memorials CEO, warned supplies are limited for rapid tests.
The new site in Southeast Midland will serve up to 30 patients a day at first and will only be open from 9 am to 1 pm this Friday, but the schedule could change in the coming days depending on how operations run on the first day.
Although the rapid tests deliver results more quickly, Meyers said they’re less accurate than the slower PCR nasal swab tests the hospital has been administering. But as labs become more backed up across the state, decreasing the turnaround time on results is important as individuals have reported being notified weeks after being tested in some cases.
According to Meyers, positive results from the rapid tests are generally trustworthy, but he said there is a 15% chance a negative result from a rapid test could actually be positive.
“So it’s not perfect,” Meyers explained. “Patients with severe symptoms will still need to be careful about monitoring their own behavior and self-isolating.”
Meyers said that if a person tests negative for the COVID-19 but is feeling sick, they should still quarantine.
The location of Midland Memorial Hospital’s new drive-through testing site is:
Coleman Family Clinic
801 E Florida Ave,
Midland, TX 79701
Appointments can be made by calling 432-686-8773.