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Between rapid testing and medical emergencies, Lansing-area urgent care wait times can be long, but staff asks for patience and continues to encourage COVID testing

Lansing Urgent Care
Posted at 9:54 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 16:34:01-05

HASLETT, Mich. — All was quiet at the Haslett Urgent Care at 8 a.m. It was the calm before the storm of people flooding though the doors to put their name on the wait list.

“We are busy from the time that we clock in to the time that we clock out," said medical assistant Autumn Johnson.

This wave of COVID-19 is causing long waits at hospitals and testing sites all over the state, and urgent cares are no exception.

“I so believe this is taken a mental, mentally and physically exhausting for all of us,” Johnson said.

Johnson's been through the slow times of the pandemic.

“Back in March of 2020 and the stay home stay put order was put into place, our wait times were barely anything,” she said.

And the hard times.

“I remember there were a couple times I left work crying all the way home like this cannot last forever can it,” Johnson said.

But nothing compares to what she's seeing now.

“Are we going to walk into twelve hours of nice patients or are we going to walk into twelve hours of patients that are mad at us because the wait times are so long,” Johnson said.

Executive Director of Operations Hillary Myers said, on a daily basis, they're seeing double the patients, which means longer wait times.

“Unfortunately, this surge we’ve seen has been the heaviest from a volume perspective," Myers said. “More patients means sometimes more wait.”

The Lansing Urgent Care website has a map of each location estimating the wait times. So far every day this week, most locations had an estimated wait time of over an hour, sometimes several hours, and people are frustrated. But not everyone can see all the work that goes on behind the scenes.

“We have a lot of people that come in and ‘it’s just a swab, it’s just a swab it only takes a second’, like it only takes a second, but there's 40 of you or 50 of you that are currently waiting,” Johnson said.

Jill Gomall is a physicians assistant.

“It’s tough because none of us like to wait myself included,” Gomall said.

She said it's busy because of the demand for rapid tests.

“A lot of sports teams for example are requiring rapid testing to be able to participate in sports which is new or schools are doing test to stay which is new,” Gomall said.

But also the non-COVID related medical emergencies that come through the clinic, people are reluctant to go to emergency rooms.

“We’re still seeing some of the minor emergencies, lacerations, ear infections, injuries and those sorts of things," Gomall said.

The emergencies often get put before rapid tests making the wait times even longer.

“Non-responsive, anaphylaxis, I mean that’s the kind of stuff we see in the clinics and that’s the stuff we’re designed to help treat and those have to take priority over a asymptomatic rapid test. Have to,” Myers said.

Those wait times are only an estimate and often go quicker than expected.

“I like to explain to them, yes it says it’s going to be six hours, there’s a good chance I can get you in in less than one or two,” Johnson said.

Johnson says they're grateful when people take the time to say something kind.

“The guy looked at me and goes ‘Can I tell you something?’ I said absolutely and he said ‘I am so thankful for what you do and I cannot imagine working in your shoes right now,' and I went home and was like wow. That felt so great,” Johnson said.

Myers said they're hiring more people and doing everything they can to improve wait times.

“We hear you and we’re working to make that a better experience for you,” Myers said.

But, despite wait times or any other reason, those at Lansing Urgent Care say they never want anyone to be deterred from getting tested because it's critical in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.

So, they ask for your patience.

“We ask that you remain kind, patient, understandable and help us along when we’re trying to help you along," Johnson said.

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Mikayla Temple

Mikayla Temple

1:39 PM, Jan 05, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Mikayla Temple

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