Wichita County Health District announces free COVID-19 testing site

Amos Perkins, Managing Editor

The Wichita County Health District has announced a free COVID-19 testing site available at the parking lot of the Multipurpose Events Center (MPEC), courtesy of health services company WellHealth.

“We work for WellHealth and they’re out of Plano, Texas, but they have a contract with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the health department, so that’s why we’re allowed to be out here doing the free COVID testing,” Meredith Charrie, medical assistant, said.

The site will be open and available Monday through Friday 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. until 2 a.m. The site is located outside the Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall of the MPEC. Those wishing to get tested must register at www.gogettested.com, and workers say they would prefer you register ahead of time.

“We prefer appointment setups, because if [people getting tested] don’t have an appointment [when they arrive at the site] then they have to go and set up an appointment and get back in line,” Charrie said.

The test is free and as of Nov. 4, gogettested.com states that there are 608 test slots available with an estimated wait time of under five minutes. Those who get tested can also expect their results within approximately 4 days.

“[Test results] take 48-96 hours, and you get a text and an email letting you know whether it’s negative or positive. With a positive result, there’s also a phonemail,” Janet King, medical assistant, said.

Those wishing to get tested must also abstain from certain activities that could alter the test results and make them harder to read.

“Twenty minutes before they come, there’s no eating or drinking, no smoking a cigarette or whatever before they come, because we want a clear test, because [the test comes] from saliva,” King said.

The testing site only offers testing via a cotton swab to the inside of the mouth. Students who need another kind of approved test for travel will have to be tested elsewhere.

“We don’t do nasal [testing], not at this site, we don’t. Some of our other sites might, but we don’t do it here,” Charrie said.

Those who test positive from the WellHealth testing site are told exactly what to do via a phone call.

“If someone has a positive test, one of our providers from WellHealth will call them and instruct them what to do next. Usually the health department will get involved, and the health department will contact them and have them quarantine,” Charrie said.

Previously Wichita County citizens primarily had to rely on CVS and other pharmacies for tests, but an increase  of cases in the county has led to more preventative measures by the government.

“We don’t know for how long we’re going to be here. The only reason that they put here is because of the rising cases. The TDEM is paying for it, because they want people to get tested,” Charrie said.

King feels it is worth it to get tested because of the security and stability it provides, and because it keeps the other members of the community safer when you know whether or not you carry COVID-19.

“I think it’s important for you to knowing yourself, so you can get peace either way, no matter what [the result] is, so you can take care of yourself properly. Someone that’s positive can be going about the community, infecting people, not knowing they have it,” King said.