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Urgent care clinic opens in Farmington, despite coronavirus uncertainties

Clinic offers drive-up COVID-19 services, consultations
Farmington’s newest urgent care opened in early May and has completed 2,000 COVID-19 tests.

FARMINGTON – A new urgent care clinic has opened in Farmington, and one of its first services being provided to the community is free drive-up COVID-19 testing.

American Family Care Urgent Care Farmington is only the second urgent care clinic in town, after San Juan Health Partners Urgent Care. The town of Aztec also has Aztec Urgent Care.

“We’re very excited to be of help here in the community and partner with local providers,” said Deborah Reisinger, regional manager of American Family Care Urgent Care in Idaho and New Mexico.

The clinic was originally scheduled to open in October 2019 but faced various delays. Reisinger said the urgent care was given the option to open after the COVID-19 crisis passed but with no indication of when that would be, the clinic decided to open sooner rather than later. It officially opened May 8.

“More importantly, there’s such a need for care in the Four Corners here,” she said of deciding to open during the coronavirus pandemic.

Urgent cares typically treat patients who need immediate but less serious care than an emergency room, which is meant to treat life-threatening situations. American Family Care is a franchise of urgent care centers founded in 1982 with locations throughout the country and is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. Farmington is its only clinic in New Mexico.

Reisinger said this is a critical time for the area to have additional medical services with the coronavirus crisis. While hospitals are typically limiting tests to people exhibiting symptoms, she said the urgent care center will provide COVID-19 tests to anyone who comes in asking for one.

Reisinger said for those without insurance, the clinic has been approved for free testing under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Patients can arrive, no appointment necessary, with a valid identification and Social Security number and can receive the nasal swab test or the antibody test. Insurance has also waived copays for COVID-19 tests.

The urgent care clinic is partnered with LabCorp – whose closest location is in Albuquerque – to complete the tests, and the Farmington site secured 10,000 tests, Reisinger said. The turnaround on results for the antibody test is 48 hours and three to five days for the nasal swab. Since its opening in early May, the Farmington clinic has completed about 2,000 COVID-19 tests, Reisinger said.

She said the clinic’s coronavirus testing – both nasal swabs for an active infection and antibody testing for possible previous infections – is a drive-up, not a drive-thru model. The clinic has designated parking spots with enough room to be socially distanced from providers and enough space to ensure privacy for each patient from other cars.

She emphasized that each person who comes through sees a doctor who will review each person’s symptoms with them. The longest wait for the testing has been just over an hour but is typically shorter, she said.

The urgent care clinic also has X-ray capabilities, splinting and casts, and an on-site lab, although COVID-19 testing is sent off site.

lweber@durangoherald.com

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