REFUGIO – Waiting to get the results of a COVID-19 test in order to either begin treatment or return to work can have a significant impact on someone’s life, so in order to make the process as quick and efficient as possible, Refugio County Memorial Hospital now has the ability to provide rapid tests.

“The rapid tests for those who test negative mean they can go back to work sooner, and for those who test positive we can begin treatment options more quickly,” said RCMH Chief Executive Officer Hoss Whitt.

The tests not only screen for the presence of COVID-19, but can also determine if someone has some strains of the flu or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

“We are able to get the results in 20 minutes,” Whitt said.

While the hospital charges for the tests, it is charging the minimum amount to help recoup expenses.

“We are not in the COVID testing business to make money,” Whitt said. “That’s a conscious decision we made to keep the fees as low as possible and offer the tests as a community service.”

COVID-19 has had a negative impact on other operations at the hospital and its clinics, as well as medical facilities nationwide, Whitt said.

“People have put off treatment (for other medical issues) because of COVID, but it’s important that people get the treatment they need and not continue to keep putting it off,” he said.

“We’ve taken a lot of precautions. We’ve been fortunate that only one of our employees has gotten COVID from work. The others who tested positive have gotten it from family members.”

The hospital had a recent drive-through health fair in which people were able to have lab work done and receive flu shots. Whitt said 405 flu shots were given during the event.

While COVID-19 cases are not multiplying as frequently as they did during a major spike in the virus locally and regionally over the summer, Whitt said it is important for people to not let down their guard.

“People need to continue social distancing, wear masks and maintain good hygiene,” he said. “That’s very important — we don’t want to take any steps back,” Whitt said.

•josborne@mysoutex.com•

 

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