COVID-19 testing ramps up across Arkansas as cases continue to rise

“I am very concerned about these numbers. I think people in Arkansas should be alarmed,” said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As the cases across our state continue to rise, you may notice a sudden uptick in drive-up testing. 

Top state health officials, like Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health, want to remind Arkansans this isn’t over yet.

RELATED: Arkansas reports record-highs in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations

“I am very concerned about these numbers. I think people in Arkansas should be alarmed,” she said. 

The Natural State is following suit with the rest of the country, according to Dillaha, as the cold weather creeps in, the COVID-19 cases spike up. 

“We are on an upward trend. We need to take steps now to stop the spread,” she said. 

That upward trend partnered with a spin-up in hiring is why Dr. Robert Hopkins, an Internal Medicine Physician with UAMS, said they have recently ramped up their off-campus drive-up testing sites.

“People are realizing that we’ve got increasing rates of disease and more demand for people to be tested,” he said. 

These pop-up locations happening anywhere from one to three times a week. 

According to Hopkins, the chosen locations are based on a combination of factors.

“It’s driven by rates, it’s driven by outreach from some of the leadership in those communities,” he said. 

Hopkins said more people needing to get tested is not just because we are gearing into the holiday season, though. 

“We are getting some demand for the travel-related stuff, but I think the main driver is people with exposure and symptoms,” he said. 

This pattern is causing an increasing in testing everywhere, according to Dillaha. 

“We have seen a steady high amount of testing through our local health units and around the state,” she said. 

The increase is making Dillaha concerned about the current spread in local communities and sounding the alarm.

“I want to remind people that this virus kills people. We’ve had many losses in Arkansas due to this virus,” she said. 

In order to get to the finish line, Hopkins said it’s got to be all hands on deck.

“We want all of us to survive to get to a normal beyond COVID, but in order to do that, we’ve all got to work together,” he said. 

UAMS will host their drive-up COVID-19 testing Tuesday, Nov. 10 at Philander Smith College in Little Rock from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be no out-of-pocket cost for testing and flu vaccinations will be available, as well, at the drive-up. 

RELATED: UAMS seeing need for more healthcare workers amid COVID-19 pandemic

QuestCap is also opening a COVID-19 testing lab at McCain Mall in North Little Rock. The site should be opened by the end of November where people can walk-up to get COVID-19 testing. It will be open the same hours as the mall.