In response to a record number of patients, Cook Children’s announced their Urgent Care Center locations have implemented changes to accommodate patients and families.
All Cook Children’s Urgent Care Center locations are walk-in only, according to the hospital. At this time, the UCC’s are not taking online check-ins. Outlying locations will close at 9 p.m. while their Fort Worth location will close at midnight.
All locations will also offer two options: lab-only visits for those patients that simply need a COVID-19 test but don’t need to be seen for an urgent care visit and the usual urgent care visit for all other patient needs.
“These changes are taking place to keep up with the high demand of recent patient volume. [Monday], our seven UCC locations saw more than 1,000 patients in one day. Prior to the recent surge in patient volume, the average number of patients seen in one day was about 600,” according to a news release from Cook Children’s.
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Maria Figueroa of Crowley took her daughter to the Urgent Care Center in Fort Worth on Monday night. Her daughter needed a COVID-19 test before an X-ray, Figueroa said.
“We waited about three hours, but there were people waiting since 2 p.m. They sent them back home and said come back at 8 or 9,” she said. “All of the examination rooms were full. The waiting area, too. When I got out, I saw a lot of parents that I counted, because the line was all down to the disabled parking lot.”
Figueroa said the long waits for medical care are a somber reminder of what their family experienced in January when her husband passed away from COVID-19 at the age of 62. She was admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 on Dec. 25 and later discharged, while her husband was admitted to the hospital on Dec. 26 in need of an ICU bed.
“I called the VA because he was a veteran. I called different states, Florida, Oklahoma, Colorado. They didn’t have any beds,” she said. “He was waiting for the ICU bed when they finally found one in Lubbock. The doctor called me. They transferred him to Lubbock and the doctor called me, and he said it was too late.”
Fort Worth pediatrician Dr. Gary Floyd the large increase in the volume of patients is being experienced at hospitals, urgent care centers, and family medicine clinics.
“Especially for pediatric and family medicine clinics, they have well-child checks and pre-school physicals. Things like that. Now you’ve got added on top of that, an unusual surge of RSV,” Floyd said. “Honestly, the frontline healthcare workers in the clinics, especially in the ER’s, the urgent cares, they’re exhausted. They’re tired.”
Floyd said healthcare workers are urging patience from the public and to continue taking precautions amid the rise in COVID-19 and RSV cases. Figueroa said her family is doing their best to take all of the necessary precautions.
“We are still wearing masks everywhere, everywhere that we go. Wash the hands, hand sanitizers and continue doing the precautions, because COVID is not leaving. We have to learn how to deal with that,” she said. “I have a lot of sinus infections. I have a scar in my lungs. So, sometimes I have to sleep with oxygen because of the pressure of the chest. I try to work every day, work in my garden. I try to push myself because I have to live for my daughters.”