Line wraps around Military Circle Mall as people test for COVID-19 post holidays

Line wraps around Military Circle Mall as people test for COVID post holidays
Posted at 4:08 PM, Dec 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-27 20:12:00-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Hundreds of people stood in line outside Military Circle Mall hoping to get a negative COVID-19 test before the New Year.

"I've never seen it like this," said Linda Watson-Glemun. "I've been here for all my vaccines, it went like clockwork, but I came today, and it was all the way around the building."

Joined by Watson-Glemun was the Border family, made up of Carson, Clara, and Sade Border, who said they've had COVID-19 symptoms since Thursday.

They said they've tried several CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid locations but all were sold out of rapid tests. They then tried to make an appointment for a PCR test, but no appointments were available until January 3.

Related: Military Circle Mall vaccination center announces holiday schedule, new hours after New Year's

Carson Border says that Military Circle wasn't the family's first choice, it's worth it to enter the new year with a sense of relief.

"We've been online, we did everything, and we can't find no home tests," he said. "Even my oldest daughter works for Walgreens [and] she tried to get us an inside connection and that didn't even work. So we said, 'ok let's go and get tested.'"

Across the water in Portsmouth, the Portsmouth Department of Public Health also saw long lines outside of their testing clinic hosted at Fourth Baptist Church.

This comes as the Portsmouth Public Library says they ran out of take-home test kits on Dec. 22, after seeing an uptick before the holidays.

Lisa, a Portsmouth resident getting tested at Fourth Baptist Church today, says she doesn't mind waiting in line to ensure she can resume her daily activities without putting others at risk.

"I have to put my family and those that I work around first," she said. "With holiday shopping, you don't know who is standing in front of you or behind you who may not be vaccinated or be vaccinated and still have it."

These long lines come as COVID-19 cases have surged throughout the holidays and area medical professionals are seeing a record number of patients requesting tests.

"We currently have a good supply of COVID tests but we are seeing a record number of requests at this time," said Gina Gremminger with Bayview Physicians Group.

Bayview Physicians Group is just one of the few medical facilities that are offering PCR COVID-19 tests.

The group recommends making an appointment online to receive a PCR test.

However, Dr. Chou, a physician at NowCare Urgent Center a Bayview Physicians Group Practice, says to follow the CDC's COVID-19 testing guidelines.

"If you have been vaccinated, you can wait five to seven days with no symptoms," he explained. "If you are not vaccinated the CDC recommends you get immediately tested, then, after 5 to seven days, get retested. If you are vaccinated you don't have to come get tested immediately."

Celebrate Healthcare is offering free COVID-19 testing at Boo Williams Sports Complex in Hampton from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on News Years Eve. Walk-ins are welcome.

To find other COVID-19 testing sites near you, you can visit the Virginia Department of Health's COVID-19 Testing Site tracker.

Click here to view our COVID-19 vaccination guide