Medical office receives more than 2,000 calls a day on coronavirus

Shortage of specialty swabs causes temporary closure of COVID-19 testing location

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – A shortage of specialty swabs has temporarily closed a drive-thru coronavirus testing location at Premier Medical Associates in The Villages as people await their test results.

Vice President of Patient Care and Marketing, Lina Cohen said some people at the medical office serves are sequestered and anxious at home waiting for their test results for the coronavirus.

“People are in fear because of the uncertainty of this virus, we are all in fear but we have to be able to cope with this in a better way,” Cohen said.

Cohen said 20 agents field 2,200 calls on a daily basis. She said most of the calls are from seniors desperate for answers or suffering from negative emotion amid the COVID-19.

“We have many vets in the villages and one called us, he was in distress he wanted to kill himself because of the uncertainty of the virus, not knowing what’s going on,” Cohen said.

On top of an influx in calls Cohen said the pace of testing has been slowed down because of a shortage of swabs, despite the pent up demand. She said a shipment is expected to arrive this week.

While many await their test results Cohen said the staff at Premier Medical Associates is committed to serving the community. There are mental health experts and a psychiatrist available to treat the deeply distressed.

“We understand that people are in their houses watching the news, the more you watch the more knowledge you might have but you are also bringing stress into your life,” Cohen said.

If you would like to be considered for a test you can call Premier Medical Associates at 352-259-2159.

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