NORFOLK, Va. - The Virginia Department of Health announced a last-minute COVID-19 testing site Friday, December 31.
The clinic was open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Military Circle Mall and nearly 700 people took part. Organizers said they were able to administer 140 tests an hour.
“Holidays and the omicron variant, it’s the perfect storm,” said Suzie Trotter, COVID-19 Testing Project Manager for the Virginia Department of Health.
Trotter said they created this last minute option for testing due to high demand. They said lack of rapid antigen testing and people gathering for the holidays led to the large crowds.
“Now you look behind me there’s enough people out here, good God Black Friday isn’t this bad, a lot of people coming out and they’re still coming,” Norfolk resident Clay Holley said.
People were seen sitting in chairs, reading books to pass the time…many waiting for hours for the chance to get swabbed.
“It’s crazy but I’m not really surprised, and I’m sort of glad that people are taking whatever measures that they need to take, in order to keep them safe and other people safe,” Robin Carter said.
The tests are PCR and have a lab processing time of 2-3 days. Trotter said they have plenty of tests for everyone waiting in the long lines.
“We are ready for it today, we are really pleased to see people are coming out and valuing testing,” Trotter said.
If you missed today's testing, the Military Circle Mall will be open again on Monday, 3 January from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. for testing. They will also be open for vaccinations only January 4-8 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.