North Texas doctor turns urgent care clinics into drive-thru COVID-19 testing centers

One North Texas doctor has turned two of his urgent care clinics into testing centers to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical staff at the Sinai Urgent Care location in University Park usually see patients with a variety of illnesses and ailments. But for the time being, they're focused solely on providing testing for people worried they might have the coronavirus.

Clinic owner Dr. Nick Karr has turned his University Park facility into a drive-up COVID-19 testing site.

“The biggest advantage is doing one thing and one thing well over and over making sure we have processes to do everything in the vehicle,” he said.

Dr. Karr made the transition after his office was flooded with calls from folks worried they had coronavirus. His urgent care location in Murphy is also making the changeover.

“We should anticipate there's going to be this spike because we know there's a lag time between when you get the virus and show symptoms,” he said.

It's a spike medical experts warn could happen over the next few weeks.

“Right now, we're still most worried about those high-risk individuals: the elderly with other medical problems,” he said. “Fever is still the biggest symptom of COVID.”

Dr. Karr expects 25 to 30 people to be tested at each of his two locations daily. Patients must call and make an appointment and fill out paperwork in advance. Once they park outside, his staff dressed in personal protective equipment will walk to the patient's vehicle to take the swab.

“For those patients who do need an x-ray, we can go ahead get them in a mask take them directly back to the x-ray room and back to their vehicle,” he said.

The swabs are sent to a lab for testing. Patients are sent back home to wait for the results.

Dr. Karr is urging Texans to stay calm.

“We encourage people to keep doing basic things: good hand hygiene, social distancing, and have a good index of suspicions when they start having symptoms,” he said.

Dr. Karr says results can take up to a week. But with more and more labs coming on board, he says the turnaround time is getting shorter.