‘There’s definitely a demand’: Clinics Increase COVID-19 Test Appointments as cases rise
By: Emily Tencer, KETV Channel 7 News
OMAHA, Neb. — As COVID-19 cases rise in Douglas County, testing clinics are working hard to meet the demand for COVID-19 testing. The test locations are seeing an uptick of people in need of getting tested.
Maria Salinas said she came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and struggled to find quick and free testing.
“It’s hard. It’s hard. I mean, when you’re the head of the household, you want to get tested as soon as possible,” she said.
She said multiple clinics and pharmacies were either booked for days or too busy to answer her call.
“I would think something so simple as a test…should not be a nightmare,” she said.
Salinas said the earliest available free testing she was able to get was through Test Nebraska for Thursday.
In a news conference Tuesday, Gov. Pete Ricketts said Thursday and Friday were the days available for his wife for COVID-19 testing through Test Nebraska. Ricketts and his wife are currently in quarantine after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person.
President Alan Kohll said TotalWellness is seeing a high demand for testing.
“Every appointment we put out there, you can just watch it uptick pretty rapidly,” said Kohll. “Our positivity rate was above 25%, so about one in four people that we saw was positive last week.”
The company started offering rapid testing back in the summer. The out-of-pocket cost is $80 and the results are available in 20 minutes.
“I just kind of had a bad feeling in my stomach that this is going to get really bad and so it has come in exactly how we thought it would,” Kohll said.
He said they’re adding more appointments every day. On Monday, the company had over 700 appointments. On Tuesday, they tested over 800 people. Kohll said they have 1,000 appointment slots for Wednesday.
“Hopefully we’re nearing the peak but it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere but up right now,” he said.
TotalWellness has COVID-19 testing appointments available Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.
88 Med is another company hoping to help the need for more testing. It primarily focuses on hormone replacement, but the clinic recently opening a rapid testing site in Omaha a few weeks ago and one in Council Bluffs last week. They plan to open another site in Lincoln next week.
“There’s definitely a demand,” said medical director Dr. Darin Jackson. “We have the ability to do it with our in-house lab. We thought, ‘Let’s just do this and help the community out.'”
Jackson said demand grows every day so they keep bringing on more workers to help.
“It gives them the peace of mind they’re looking for. They’re able to travel, they’re able to visit relatives. They’re able to get back to school, get back to work or quarantine, and know that answer within minutes or hours, instead of within days,” he said.
88 Med has same-day availability rapid COVID-19 testing every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. To book an appointment, visit the 88 Med website.
COVID-19 RAPID TESTING IN OMAHA, COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA & LINCOLN, NE
The Omaha community can now receive COVID-19 Rapid Testing at 88MED. For your convenience, we’re extending our hours of operation for the COVID-19 Rapid testing. You can book an online appointment time between 8 am-8 pm, seven days a week. Click here for more information.