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EDITORIAL: Come join the fall fun in surge testing

EDITORIAL: Come join the fall fun in surge testing

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Maybe it’s our imagination, but Dr. Jackson Griggs acted as if he were talking about pumpkin festival frolic in getting tested for COVID-19 as part of month-long “surge testing” in McLennan County. During a weekly briefing on local efforts to battle COVID-19 this week, the CEO of Waco’s Family Health Center spoke excitedly about the helpfulness of medical staff and the ease of getting the self-administered COVID-19 nasal swab test during his visit to a testing site at the Waco Convention Center Wednesday.

“There haven’t been many times during the pandemic when I’ve had sort of a joyful, jolly enthusiasm, but I have some right now, and it’s because of this surge testing, this capacity for any of us to go in and get tested at free sites,” Griggs said. “This morning, first thing, I went in and got my test at the Convention Center and it was easy, folks were super-friendly, very professional. I felt safe through the whole process, I didn’t feel like I was going to get exposed. And so I heartily encourage everyone to go and get this test.”

No second opinion needed here. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with the state of Texas and city of Waco to offer this come-one, come-all testing blowout throughout the month, prompting County Judge Scott Felton to unofficially declare October Personal and Public Health Month for McLennan County. HHS has allocated 40,000 COVID-19 tests for the effort. Felton says this is an excellent opportunity for businesses to get employees tested the same way they might offer flu shots. It also offers those who may not have COVID-19 symptoms but worry they’re spreading this malady because they’re possibly asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic a way to know for sure, the better to protect cherished family members, friends and neighbors.

Today free testing is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at McLennan Community College, 4601 N. 19th St. It continues from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at MCC as well as the Convention Center, 100 Washington Ave. For registration details as well as future testing dates this month, visit Waco Transit will provide free transit rides to anyone going to or from a testing site.

It remains only to warn against overconfidence after seven long months of anxiety and practicing health measures to protect all. To quote Dr. Marc Elieson of Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center: “One of the questions I routinely ask my patients who are in the hospital with COVID-19 is, ‘Is there anyone else in your home who is sick?’ or ‘Do you know anyone who has been sick?’ or ‘Do you have any clue as to how you got this?’ And I’m often amazed at how many patients will tell me, ‘Look, I’ve been really careful, I don’t go out very much, when I go out I wear a mask. I have no idea how I got it.’ That’s alarming to me and to them because there was some lapse in their caution. Whether they were exposed to somebody at home or outside their home, something happened.

“People, despite their thinking they’re careful, are not as careful as they need to be or should have been.”

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