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Demand for COVID-19 testing rises across the Coast

With high demand in tests, they are set to open another drive-thru test site later this week in Gulfport.
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 6:19 PM CST
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OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Patience is key if you’re looking to get tested for COVID-19, as healthcare centers across the Coast are slammed.

“It’s hard to get a test anywhere,” said Ocean Springs resident Jay Hunt. “Down (Highway) 90, I seen all the cars from Singing River Hospital, and it was backed up. I’m like, ‘Well I ain’t going there.’”

Patients like Hunt filled the waiting room at AlphaCare Urgent Care Tuesday.

“A lot of the other local facilities are running out of tests, so we’re seeing more patients over here from that,” owner and physician George Loukatos said.

Loukatos administers nearly 300 tests each day across his three coastal facilities.

“We were worried that we were gonna run out of tests, but we, thankfully, you know, have a supply chain that we were then able to continue to get tests,” he said.

He said it’s the heaviest volume he’s seen of the pandemic, with some even camping outside his doors before they open.

“I think the most important thing really is for people to, if they know that they’re sick, to stay home,” Loukatos said.

Down the street at Singing River’s drive-through test site at the Ocean Springs hospital, about 2,000 people were tested in just three days.

“Yesterday I heard it was like 700 people, so I was scared we were gonna be in line for hours,” Erica Ashford told WLOX.

Ashford drove from Gautier, and despite the high turnout, she made it through the line with her son in less than half an hour.

She said finding the swab was a challenge.

“A lot of the places that we called, we couldn’t get answers,” she said.

Health officials with Singing River said 42% of their total lab results over the last five days are positive.

“Now that you see all the cars everywhere trying to get tested, that just tells you more and more people, this one is I know it’s easier to get so, yeah, I think I’m gone wear my mask a lot more,” Hunt said.

Singing River Health is set to open an additional drive-through testing site later this week at its Gulfport hospital.

As of 8 a.m. on Tuesday, they said 55 people are hospitalized across their three locations, 11 are in the ICU, three are using a ventilator and 70% are not vaccinated.

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