QUESTION: What moved into what was originally the Neighbors freestanding emergency room at Gilmer Road and Loop 281?

ANSWER: Neighbors Emergency Center had a short-lived stint in Longview, closing in 2017 after a year in business at the new facility it built at Gilmer Road and Loop 281. It had opened around the same time as two other privately operated emergency rooms, Hospitality Health ER and Excel ER (which is operated by the local doctors who also staff Christus Good Shepherd emergency rooms) and so faced stiff competition.

I drove by Neighbors’ former location and discovered a large “Hospitality Health ER” rug out front, which I guess wasn’t surprising. Hospitality Health has seen tremendous growth and is working on an expansion of its facility on McCann Road, which co-owner Jill Shipp said should be finished in late spring.

She said Hospitality Health ER did purchase the former Neighbors facility, but it’s not generally open to the public. People may not just walk into the facility for service like they do at the McCann Road site.

“We purchased it as an extension of our medical care because our volume has grown so much because of regular emergencies and COVID,” she said.

Again, though, I’ll emphasize that people seeking care from Hospitality Health shouldn’t present themselves to the Gilmer Road/Loop 281 facility, but to the original site on McCann Road.

Q: I have been to the courthouse several times lately and wonder why there is no handrail at the three steps on the south side of courthouse. It is needed for safety for most of us senior citizens.

A: I asked our county judge, Bill Stoudt, about it. He said he would like into this issue and likely would request the courthouse maintenance department to install a handrail.

Q: I heard there are places you can get a rapid vaccine for $25, instead of having to wait for results. Can you tell me where?

A: First, I’m afraid the rules of Answer Line prevent me from tracking down information about what services private businesses provide at what cost.

First, I assume you’re talking about the rapid COVID-19 testing, not the vaccine since it isn’t yet available. All the free testing sites are for PCR testing exclusively, which the Northeast Texas Public Health District tells me is the kind that requires samples to be sent to a lab. The time it takes to get results will vary depending on the number of tests each laboratory receives.

Free testing is available from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays in Longview, by appointment only, at Louis Morgan Drugs Pharmacy No. 1 at 1900 S. High St. You don’t need symptoms but must be able to provide an email address for receive testing results. Testing is done with a self-administered swab. Make an appointment at . For more information about the testing, call (800) 635-8611.

There are lots of locations offering rapid testing, but you’ll have to look into locations (and then call to check on pricing) at .

All of the free testing locations are PCR only, meaning samples are sent to a lab. Turn around time on receiving results depends on the number of tests each laboratory receives.

Rapid testing locations are prevalent, and are listed upon the ‘Testing’ page of , but payment may be required at rapid testing locations.

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