Requests for COVID-19 testing are increasing at Longview pharmacies.
Pharmacists at Louis Morgan No. 1 and No. 4 each said they have seen higher demand as the number of cases in the area has seen a recent surge.
“There has definitely been an uptick in the number of people requesting testing in the last month or so,” said Shawn Sams, pharmacist and co-owner of Louis Morgan No. 4. “It’s been so much so that we’re now testing five days a week, Monday through Friday, whereas we were previously only testing three days a week.”
Louis Morgan No. 1 and No. 4 are each participating in a federally-funded, free, drive-up COVID-19 testing program in which each pharmacy can administer up to 50 tests per day. The free program provides testing to East Texans in five-minute intervals, but people must pre-register.
While there is a questionnaire required to register for a test, people do not have to be experiencing symptoms, said Cheryl Gilliam, pharmacist and co-owner of Louis Morgan No. 1. The questionnaire is intended to collect data, she said.
“We are seeing an enormous increase in requests for testing,” Gilliam said. “We’re pretty much booked on all of our appointments throughout the week. Now, that said, people can only make a request for a test date three days in advance.”
The testing offered at each Louis Morgan location is a nasal swab that patients administer themselves. Results typically take three to four days to be returned, though the pharmacists noted some people have received them as quickly as two days later.
Sams and Gilliam each said there is a need for increased rapid testing, particularly for those who are not showing symptoms of the coronavirus.
“There are people who have recovered from COVID and who need a negative test to go back to work, but because they aren’t showing symptoms, they don’t qualify for a rapid test. They need to be able to get their negative results quicker so they can go back to work,” Gilliam said.
Sams said he believes rapid testing is on the verge of becoming more widely available, though he suspects it will largely require individuals to self-pay for the testing.
Additionally, each pharmacy is requesting to administer COVID-19 vaccines as they become available.
“Hopefully in the next few weeks, we will receive information about when we’ll be able to get the vaccines and how we will administer them,” Sams said.
Louis Morgan No. 1 is offering free COVID-19 testing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday at 1900 S. High St. Meanwhile, Louis Morgan No. 4 is offering testing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday at 110 Johnson St.
To register for a COVID-19 test at either Louis Morgan location, visit doineedacovid19test.com.