By Steve Coulter
COVID-19 testing is available through two clinics at SSM Health St. Anthony Healthplex located at 201 S Sara Rd in Mustang.
“We have two different ways of getting tested. One is what we call the broad base testing clinic. That’s for people who maybe aren’t showing signs or symptoms but need to get the test. People that need to return to work and maybe had some symptoms previously or that were exposed. They can come get tested as long as they are not showing symptoms,” said Dr. Richard Lowrance with SSM Health St. Anthony Healthplex.
A second testing clinic is available for people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
“We have a respiratory clinic where people call in that do have symptoms. We do an evaluation, a very brief physical exam and test them for the virus,” said Dr. Lowrance.
You can request an appointment by calling the Healthplex (405) 578-3250. Staff will determine which test you need. Testing results and turnaround vary between 2-6 days.
Antibody testing is also available. An antibody test is a blood test that looks for signs of a previous COVID-19 infection.
“It’s a simple blood test. It takes approximately two days to return. It’s either a positive or negative. The same as a nasal swab test,” said Dr. Lowrance.
Right now, they are seeing an increase in numbers but not an increase in severity.
“What we’re seeing in the clinics is a wide range of symptoms. Anywhere from very mild symptoms to symptoms that are having to be monitored in a hospital. The numbers seem to be skewing to younger people. Those younger people under age 65 are having less severe symptoms,” said Dr. Lowrance.
Many people may not even realize anything is wrong.
“I think there’s a lot of asymptomatic people that are walking around,” he said. “Some of these cases are so mild, it would be confused with simple allergies. For us, it’s a really big challenge. I would say there’s really no ability to differentiate it.”
Others have more flu like symptoms. That can include cough, body aches, fatigue, congestion and upper respiratory symptoms. Some have loss of taste and stomach issues.
Dr. Lowrance recommends you continue to do three basic things to protect yourself from the virus.
“Number one, wash your hands. Number two, maintain distance. Six feet distance with this virus seems to be appropriate. Number three, wear a face mask. It can reduce your risk of contracting the disease by up to 80 percent. That’s what some of the studies have shown. If you follow those three things, you’re significantly reducing your risk,” he said.