Claire Kowalick, Wichita Falls Times Record News Published 12:31 p.m. CT Aug. 10, 2020 | Updated 12:37 p.m. CT Aug. 10, 2020
In this 2019 photo, Community Healthcare Center celebrated their 25th anniversary. The center had added new locations throughout Wichita Falls and is now able to treat about 400 patients daily - twice their capacity previously.(Photo: CHRISTOPHER WALKER/TIMES RECORD NEWS)
Representatives from the Community Healthcare Center were honored with a proclamation from Wichita County Monday for National Health Center Week.
CEC CEO Alan Patterson said they are very proud of the work the health center does for the Wichita Falls area community.
In the past three years, the CEC has expanded greatly and now assists about 400 patients a day twice their previous patient capacity.
Recent projects include a CEC location near Zundy Elementary that opens this week and another location at the Wichita Falls campus of Vernon College, which will open in about two months.
Patterson said directly after the Wichita County Commissioners Court meeting, hewas headed to their CEC Third Street campus to oversee the start of a new medical student program for Wichita Falls.
On Monday, the first nine students began their orientation. Ten more students will be added in 2021 and another 10 the next year. The new medical school will have a capacity of 30 students where they can complete their second, third and fourth years of medical school right here in Wichita Falls.
In the past 21 weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic in the area, Patterson said the CECis the front line for many local patients.
In this time frame, the centers have seen about 38,000 patients and about 1,400 were tested for COVID-19. Patterson said of the patients tested, about 85 percent were negative and 15 percent positive for the virus.
In many cases, the CEC can treat COVID patients from start to finish, following the most recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Patterson credited Dr. Ellaheh Ebrahim at the center for doing an excellent job of treating patients by rigidly following the CDC guidelines, which can change daily.
Patterson said they conduct three different kinds of COVID-19 testes, PCR or advanced DNA testing, antibody and antigen. The most accurate COVID test, he said is the PCR, which they have luckily been able to conduct for most patients.
Unlike some other areas of the country, Patterson said the CEC is fortunate to get tests processed in less than two days in most cases.
While he did not want to go into exactly what course of medications patients are given to treat COVID-19, Patterson did say they do not use hydroxychloroquine, as it is not recommended by the CDC to treat COVID-19.
Masking is the most important vaccine the country has now, the director said, in preventing the spread of the virus.
Claire Kowalick, a senior journalist for the Times Record News, covers local government, military and MSU Texas. If you have a news tip, contact Claire at email@example.com.
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