Officials at a COVID-19 testing site in Dallas say they expect an uptick in testing demand on Monday.
Samia Zia, director of strategy and integration for the Parkland Health & Hospital System, acts as an operational lead for their testing sites, which are also supported by Dallas County and the city of Dallas.
“For some reason, the past few Mondays have also been busy but especially this Monday, I do expect an uptick only because we were closed and people were out of town or visiting family,” Zia said. “We’re getting ready, making sure we have staffing available to accommodate the volumes.”
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Their testing sites at the Ellis Davis Field House in Dallas and Dallas College Eastfield campus in Mesquite opened Saturday morning after being closed for two days during the Thanksgiving holiday.
More than 700 people were expected to be tested at the Ellis Davis Field House site by the end of Saturday, Zia said.
“Around 3:30 we were already at 657 COVID tests,” she said. “Saturdays have picked up recently. It wasn’t always like that. We did see these types of numbers back in June, July. Then we had a little bit of a down time. Those numbers have picked back up.”
On Saturday, Dallas County officials reported 982 new cases of COVID-19. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said those new cases are results from Wednesday, while Sunday’s report will reflect results processed on Thanksgiving and the following two days.
“These numbers are going to look different because there are a lot of medical offices closed,” Jenkins said. “A lot of people weren’t going to getting testing, so these numbers won’t necessarily be normal numbers until Monday or Tuesday.”
In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, health officials had urged people to forgo large gatherings in an effort to the slow the spread of COVID-19. Jenkins thanked people Saturday for following the guidance.
The impact of Thanksgiving gatherings will become clearer in the coming two weeks, Jenkins said.
“Instead of looking at your neighbor and saying, 'My neighbor is not doing something right.' We all need to look at ourselves in the spirit of patriotism and community sacrifice and say, 'What can I do that’s a little bit smarter, a little bit safer?'” he said. “We have to remember that the choices that we make for ourselves and our family and our businesses can have an impact on people we’ve never met and we don’t know.”
As of Saturday, Jenkins said COVID-19 patients accounted for 17% of hospital beds in Dallas County. The percentage of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in North Texas rose above 15% on Saturday for the second consecutive day, which is a metric set by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that would trigger a rollback of relaxed restrictions if it continues for a week straight.