‘The demand is through the roof’: Urgent care clinic faces COVID-19 testing shortage


BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WKRN) — As the number of COVID-19 cases reaches an all-time high and Tennessee sees another near-record daily increase, the need for more testing is even more critical. But, finding a test has become increasingly difficult.

Testing shortages and delayed lab results have become a nationwide problem. Some urgent cares and medical clinics across Middle Tennessee don’t have any more tests to give.

“We’ve been kind of shaking every tree we can think to shake to get the swabs,” said Dr. Nabil Boutros, MD from Physicians Urgent Care.

Their clinics in Brentwood and Franklin have been at a standstill since July 2. Before then, they were testing 50 to 100 people for the virus per day.

“Our phones have been ringing off the hook, like you couldn’t imagine. Four or five calls a minute with people who have questions and we just don’t have the resources to answer all of those phone calls,” said Dr. Boutros.

Their offices are keeping a log of everyone who has requested a test. Once they are resupplied, each patient will be contacted to schedule one. But, they might have to wait a few more days until they’re fully restocked.

Several area clinics are facing the same problem.

“There is nowhere to send patients for it. We’ve called a bunch of other resources locally and it’s kind of a community-wide shortage, probably a national shortage,” Dr. Boutros said.

He says there are many factors as to why. A negative test is now required when traveling to other states, returning to work or even attending summer camp.

As the pandemic changes, so does the way they care for their patients.

“It’s a constant juggle and a constant strain on our staff to make sure we have everything we can to supply this,” said Dr. Boutros.

Overall, the staff has been able to adapt quickly and hope to be back on track sooner rather than later.

“We’ll keep on reeling forward through this in hopes that things settle down and that we do flatten the curve the best that we can as a community and as a state,” Dr. Boutros said.

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