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Moore County Emergency Management Coordinator Tommy Brooks, second from left, watches as staff  at the county's free COVID testing clinic place a sample from a patient onto the card that will determine whether the patient does or does not have COVID.  The results will be ready within 15 minutes.

"Come get tested.  Get vaccinated.  Let's stop this so we don't end up with more people dying unnecessarily," said Moore County Emergency Management Coordinator Tommy Brooks.  Brooks and his team, along with personnel from the Dumas Fire Department and Moore County Emergency Medical Services, have been conducting a free COVID testing clinic every weekday in McDade Park in Dumas from 12:00 to 2:00 pm.  Since they began August 4, they have tested 136 people, 20 of whom have tested positive.

Brooks said the response has been enough that they plan to continue testing next week and beyond, adding that testing and vaccinations are the keys to keeping the current surge, primarily the delta variant, from getting out of control and overwhelming the medical system.  By identifying people with the virus, testing can greatly reduce the spread of the disease, while vaccinations, though not perfect, cut down on serious cases and hospitalizations, which he said was critical since medical facilities across the state and nation have been suffering from staffing shortages after more than a year of COVID.  Governor Greg Abbott this week put out a call for help to other states for medical personnel to help in Texas hospitals.

Brooks said the test that they are administering in the park is a so-called quick test, which does not require someone to insert a long swab deep into the nasal cavity like the PCR tests.  The results are available within 15 minutes and are completely free.  He urged people who have any kind of respiratory symptoms or who feel ill to come get tested.  Personnel at the clinic can provide letters for employers to those who test positive and need to go into quarantine.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), there were an estimated 89 active cases in Moore County as of August 17, up from 81 on Monday.  Also, 41.43 percent of Moore County residents have been fully vaccinated while 53.61 percent have had at least one shot. 

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