Odessa holding last free testing events this week

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ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/ Fox 24) – The City of Odessa will hold their last round of free COVID-19 testing events starting this week.

While the city prepares for their last two COVID-19 testing events for the summer, Devin Sanchez, Communications Director for the City of Odessa said they are planning to provide more testing in the fall, but exactly how they will operate is still up in the air.

“We don’t know what the virus situation is going to look like in the fall,” Sanchez said. “We know what it can look like, which is what it looks like right now. But if we have a big surge in cases,
we may have to give more tests, we may have to look at providing more than just 200, or we may scale back.”

Dr. Diana Ruiz, UTPB Associate Professor, said during these free testing events, the city has been receiving results as early as two days. But the biggest problem they are having is getting in touch with residents to notify them.

“We have had quite a few issues reaching people,” Dr, Ruiz said. “Sometimes people think that is a spam call and they don’t want to answer it, so we leave them a message and then we have to circle back to them. Because at any given time we can be juggling 400 hundred results.”

Dr.Ruiz said the city is working around the clock to ensure all Odessans are notified of their results.

“Particularly with positives we really try to contact them within a number of hours,” Dr. Ruiz said. ” The negatives we try to contact in no more than a typical business day.”

As for Odessans who plan to get tested this week or later in the fall, the city is urging residents to help slow the spread by isolating themselves until they get notified of their results.

“It’s really not a good idea to go out into the public, to go do your shopping or whatever because you’ve just been tested for an incredibly contagious disease,” Sanchez said. “So treat it as if you have it until you learn otherwise.”

As for testing events in the fall, the City of Odessa is aiming to resume by October, but that’s subject to change.

The last two events will be held this week starting on Tuesday, July 28th at Slator Park and on Thursday, July 30th at Central Park. Both events will start at 9 a.m and you must bring two working phone numbers and an email address to get notified.

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