CHARLOTTE, N.C. — These days the phone is always ringing inside Carolina Pharmacy Arboretum.
- Carolina Pharmacy Arboretum was averaging around 100 COVID-19 tests a day primarly for traveling early in the summer
- Since July it is now averaging around 500 tests a day
- The pharmacy also provides COVID-19 vaccines to residents and have seen those numbers increase as well
Ringing phones and curbside COVID-19 testing is the new norm for Kavel Bhathela and his staff.
“Moving to a curbside, and really a telephone-type service, was different for us,” he said.
Bhathela began working at a pharmacy in high school, starting out as a cashier and eventually working his way to the back.
But all of that experience and years of schooling couldn’t prepare him for a global pandemic.
“I wouldn’t have also thought that pharmacy would have evolved to be what it is today,” Bhathela said. “Especially the services we’re providing within the pharmacy with COVID, point-of-care testing in general (and) the vaccinations we’re authorized to do.”
Over the summer, Bhathela says they were only doing around 100 COVID-19 tests a day, primarily for traveling.
Now with COVID-19 cases rising, Bhathela says they’re averaging around 500 tests a day.
“Over the course of July, we really started seeing a lot more people come in with symptoms and getting testing because they were symptomatic,” he said.
Bhathela says they’re anticipating testing to increase not just for COVID-19, but soon for the flu.
“Right now, it’s still relatively warm outside,” he said. “We’re not really entering our general respiratory cold and flu season yet, so people aren’t getting other viruses and other illnesses, so when you compound that with the delta variant, we may see an even more increase chance in transmission.”
That means more curbside testing and ringing phones that likely won’t slow down for Bhathela anytime soon.
Bhathela says they also have been providing COVID-19 vaccines to residents and have seen those numbers increase over the last few weeks as well.