As the Acadiana region sees an uptick in COVID-19 cases, healthcare facilities are trying to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.
For many patients, urgent care is the main choice for triage because of convenient hours and the ability to see patients quickly.
Mark Landry, a nurse practitioner and CEO of MinuteMed Walk-In Clinic said, "Most of what we're seeing is for COVID testing and a lot of employers are requiring employees to be tested before they can return to work, especially if they're symptomatic."
Landry said most urgent cares are overwhelmed, but they're doing their best to keep hospitals from the tipping point.
"Hospitals have real sick patients to take care of. We do the less acute type of patients. We want to try and keep these patients from going to the emergency room or the hospitals and bogging them down with testing or asymptomatic testing," Landry said.
Dr. Kevin Dibenedetto with Lourdes Urgent Care said usually June and July are two of their slowest months of the year, but this year, they've been busier than the past June and July for the last three years.
"We're doing a lot more virtual medicine now. A lot of virtual visits where people can sign in online and be interviewed. See if they need to be tested via virtual visit and then show up to be tested," Dr. Dibenedetto said.
At Lourdes Urgent Care, they're pre-screening patients, especially those looking to get COVID tests. The clinic is also requiring patients wait in their cars until a room is ready.
"There's been such a big outbreak that you have to use your tests wisely and do what's best for the community and those most at risk," Dr. Dibenedetto said.
Back at MinuteMed, Landry said things typically found in south Louisiana are also causing people to visit the walk-in clinic.
"Pollen, mold, dander, mildew, sugar cane fields burning and all of this stuff can get into our sinuses and cause symptoms that are very similar to COVID. It can get confusing and really hectic with the surge in Coronavirus," Landry said.
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