By Isabelle Link, Staff Reporter
Students at Amarillo College say there are several roadblocks when it comes to coronavirus testing.
Stormie Sanchez, a mass media major, said she felt Amarillo initially “dropped the ball” on making coronavirus testing available.
“I’ve heard stories of people showing symptoms getting denied. I’ve heard of those who got tested having to wait days for results,” she said. “I feel like we we’re too far behind Lubbock, a similar in size city in getting drive-thru testing centers set up.”
The City of Amarillo has set up one mobile site at the Tri-State Fairgrounds; however, not all tests have been administered, according to officials.
Some people blame fear of high costs for the lack of testing in Amarillo.
“I feel like people are too worried about the cost of health care to get tested or even see a doctor if they begin to get symptoms,” Logan Canada, a mass media major, said. “I do feel that testing is being wasted on those who don’t even have symptoms, but are so paranoid that they get tested anyway.
Bailea Dooley, a general studies major, said she agreed.
“The testing in Amarillo is in fact a good step toward recovery from the pandemic in the city, but it either works well for the people who can afford it or it does nothing for those who can’t or just are quarantined,” she said.
People from lower income households often face greater concerns about access to testing and affordable health care, said Jaimie Beery, a mass media major.
“My entire family has had to go without healthcare for years. One limit of these tests is not knowing where to get them and not being able to afford them. While we do our best to be careful, there are more who do not take such measures. If they do not care about those measures, they will not bother with testing and will endanger those around them,” she said.
Titus Gilner, a mass media major, said the pandemic has exacerbated already existing problems with access to affordable health care.
“I think the issue is the medical system in America, not necessarily our local health care professionals. In America, low income individuals are not cared for by the health system and that won’t change during this pandemic. The need for volunteerism and community outreach among
the less fortunate is higher than ever,” he said.
Testing is available at all the local hospitals, including BSA and Northwest Texas Hospital.
The Amarillo COVID-19 safety check drive-thru is located at the Rex Baxter building at the Tri-State Fair Grounds. If you’re interested in being tested, call Public Health at 806-378-6300 for pre-screening. If your symptoms warrant a test, you’ll be directed to the drive-thru facility.