Demand for COVID-19 testing rises across the Coast

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) — Patience is key if you’re looking to get tested for COVID-19, as health care centers are being criticized across the coast.

“It’s hard to get a test anywhere,” said Jay Hunt, an Ocean Springs resident. “Down (Highway) 90, I saw all the cars from Singing River Hospital, and they were backed up. I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m not going there.'”

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

“Many other local facilities are running out of checks, so we’re seeing more patients here,” said Dr. George Lokatos, owner and doctor.

Loukatos performs approximately 300 tests per day across its three coastal facilities.

“We were worried that we would run out of tests, but fortunately, you know, we have a supply chain that we were then able to keep running the tests,” he said.

He said it was the largest he had seen of the epidemic, with some even camping outside its doors before they opened.

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

Down the street at the Singing River vehicle test site at Ocean Springs Hospital, about 2,000 people were tested in just three days.

“Yesterday I heard it was 700 people, so I was afraid we were going to be in line for hours,” Erica Ashford told WLOX.

Ashford drove from Gautier, and despite the huge turnout, she was able to get past class with her son in less than half an hour.

She said finding the swab was a challenge.

“A lot of the places we’ve contacted, we haven’t been able to get answers,” she said.

Singing River health officials said 42% of all lab results over the past five days have been positive.

“Now that you’ve seen all the cars everywhere trying to get the test done, it’s just telling you more and more people, that is, I know it’s easier to get, and yeah, I think I went and wore my mask a lot more,” Hunt said.

Singing River Health is set to open an additional test drive site later this week at its Gulfport Hospital.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, they said 55 people were hospitalized in their three locations, 11 are in the intensive care unit, 3 are on a ventilator and 70% have not been vaccinated.

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