AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Potter County employees now have the opportunity to take rapid COVID-19 tests every Tuesday and Thursday if they’re feeling sick.
River Road ISD donated a little under 1,200 COVID-19 rapid tests to Potter County.
The school district was given tests to use as needed and found they were not using as many as they thought, so the state allowed them to donate their leftover tests to Potter County since they expire in March.
“They got the approval to be able to donate that to us. I talked to the County Judge, and so we were going to try to offer that to our County employees first. We have three of our medical personnel that are working in each court house twice during the week. So, on Tuesdays and Thursdays for three hours they are sitting there and they can go in and get tested if somebody feels like they may have had it,” said Sheriff Brian Thomas, Potter County Sheriff’s Office.
When a Potter County employee feels sick, they notify a supervisor who will approve them to take the test.
They will then go to the Potter County District Courthouse, Santa Fe building or the Historic Courthouse where there are stations set up with nurses there to take the test, and then the test results are ready within 15 minutes of taking them.
Sheriff Thomas says, so far they have not had a big response but believes that is because they’ve been encouraging employees to stay home if feeling sick.
“We’re not having a real big response with that. Part of that is because we all have pushed, if you don’t feel well, stay home. And so, hopefully that’s the reason why we are not having a big response to that,” said Sheriff Thomas.
He says if this continues, they will send the tests to the county jail to use on incoming inmates.
“We’ll do that the rest of this week and probably part of next week, if not the whole week. After that then were going to bring those tests out to the jail and we will test every new inmate that comes through the door. So, that’ll help us open up some of those cells that we have been using for quarantine, but it will also let us know for sure if somebody has the COVID or anything,” said Sheriff Thomas.
Sheriff Thomas says since having to quarantine new inmates for 14 days in one cell, these rapid tests will make it easier to move them around the jail.
“Right now, everybody comes in, we put them in one cell, and so they’re in there for 14 days in this one cell and we don’t move them. Sometimes that doesn’t work out very well. At the same time, we were also asking people, hey don’t bring in, bring in your violent offenders but those that have maybe a traffic warrant or if it’s a simple theft, can we make a report on those people and then issue a warrant later because of the COVID and issues like that. But if it was any kind of violent crime, we were taking them but we have relaxed that so, our numbers are starting to go back up and as that continues to go up, we lose that bed space. So, this will make that a little easier for being able to house our inmates as well,” said Sheriff Thomas.
Randall County’s medical insurance covers the cost for any COVID-19 tests their employees take.
The only COVID-19 tests they have in house is PCR COVID-19 tests the jail can use just for their inmates with results in 24 hours.