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Demand for COVID-19 testing still high post holidays

COVID testing
Posted at 9:30 PM, Jan 16, 2021

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – As thousands of health care workers and seniors line up for their COVID-19 vaccine shot, the demand for testing for the virus remains high.

COVID-19 testing clinics, such as Velocity Urgent Care, are still seeing the impact of the pre-holiday and post-holiday rush.

“We’re still seeing really high volumes of people coming in for testing,” said Dr. Tiffany Sibley, the chief medical officer at Velocity Urgent Care. “The high volume started about the week before Thanksgiving and we’ve continued to see the same volume all the way through the holiday season up till now.”

Appointments are booking up quickly.

A person can expect to wait about two days to make an appointment for a COVID-19 test at Velocity while some other clinics, such as Patient First, told News 3 on Tuesday, they’re booking appointments at least four days out.

“Demand for COVID-19 testing remains high,” said Taylor Robertson, Patient First’s community relations director. “Currently, testing appointments at our Hampton Roads area Centers are booked through the end of the week. We encourage patients to check our website frequently, as cancellations do happen and those appointments become available immediately.”

The high demand for testing comes as Hampton Roads continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“The holiday season is definitely one source of the increase in positive cases – people being with families and such, but I would think with testing itself, we’re catching both asymptomatic and symptomatic patients, which is leading to higher positivity rates,” said Sibley.

While the number of people looking to be tested for the virus remains high, Sibley said the volume has stayed steady over the last couple of months.

Current volumes are a contrast to this past summer when labs across the country became overwhelmed by the surge in testing and faced backlogs in turnaround times.

Sibley said, however, wait times for results for PCR tests could still take up to a week.

Meantime, Velocity is looking to do more in the fight against coronavirus. The clinic has applied to be a distribution site for vaccine doses but is still waiting to hear back from the state.

“We’re working with the Virginia Department of Health to see if there’s anything that can done to allow us to help,” Sibley said. “Right now, we’re looking at having hub sites, so a couple of maybe our larger volume sites that have more providers and staff. We would probably try and put the vaccine there.”

If you believe you’ve been infected, or are waiting on test results, health experts recommend self-quarantining for two weeks.

Related article: Long delays for COVID test results as demand spikes