Urgent cares see longer wait times amid coronavirus surge

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ODESSA, Texas- According to Medical Center Hospital (MCH) leaders, more patients are going to urgent care clinics than hospital emergency rooms due to the local rise in COVID-19 patients.

“We are now reaching max capacity at our urgent care clinics. So, not only has that (COVID-19) maxed out the hospital and emergency room, it is now starting to max out our clinics. We’re having to reallocate staff there as well,” said MCH Chief Executive Officer Russell Tippin. 

As a result, wait times are getting longer for urgent care patients who come in to schedule a time to be seen.

Since it’s a first come first served basis, the earlier patients get to an urgent care clinic, the more likely they are to be seen that day.

“We try to bring them in efficiently. That’s the best process we’ve been able to come up with now only because of the space we have,” said MCH Director of Urgent Cares Chris Tovar. “Unfortunately, the times that we have allotted for them we can only accommodate so many people in a twelve-hour shift.”

Tovar says each clinic used to see between 75 and 80 patients a day. However, administrators felt they couldn’t deliver the best quality of care for so many and have since cut that number down by half. 

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