People seeing long lines, short supply of rapid testing after Christmas holiday

‘People are coming out in numbers to test’
Cars line up for COVID testing at Doc's Pharmacy in Charlotte
Cars line up for COVID testing at Doc's Pharmacy in Charlotte(Lowell Rose)
Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 6:46 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Days after the Christmas holiday, more people are rushing to get tested for COVID-19.

If you’ve tried—you know how difficult it is to get a rapid test or must wait days for results.

The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 across North Carolina is at a high we haven’t seen in more than a year.

More than 20% of people getting tested have the virus, and doctors say with an increase in cases, more people will get tested.

“It’s been very busy, we’ve hard cars lined up since 8 o’clock this morning,” said Michael Ilodigwe, the owner and pharmacist at Doc’s Pharmacy in Charlotte. “People are coming out in numbers to test, sometimes impatient because of the slow process.”

Long lines are becoming the norm when it comes to getting a COIVD test in Mecklenburg County.

Dr. Katie Passaretti, Atrium Health’s Vice President and Enterprise Chief Epidemiologist said. “we’ve met this challenge before with every surge, when there’s a surge in cases, there’s a surge in people wanting to get tested.”

Doc’s Pharmacy tells WBTV there has been an uptick in positive COVID test at the drive-up site, and more people requesting rapid tests, which shows results in 15 minutes.

“I attribute to the holiday season, people getting together, families and stuff,” said Ilodigwe about the increase in COVID cases.

As people rush to get tested, the pharmacy is not able to get an at-home test right now and believes it would help mass testing sites.

“It would relieve the pressure of the long line, the long wait, some people will drive up and go home because they can’t get tested,” said Ilodigwe.

Due to the demand for COVID testing right now, it will take 2 to 3 days to get results and some locations may not have a rapid test available.

Atrium Health says people with at-home and rapid tests should know this if they test positive with symptoms.

“If you’re positive on an antigen test, symptomatic, done deal, I wouldn’t clog up the testing sites waiting for tests for days to get that to confirm that,” said Dr. Passaretti.

If you’re having trouble finding a testing site, healthcare professionals suggest you explore all options at urgent care facilities, the pharmacy, your local health department, and mass testing sites, but do not go to the emergency room for testing.

When it comes to testing issues, Dr. Passaretti said “I know there’s work to make sure those tests are more accessible, what’s tricky is whether that timing will work out with the surge in need right now from the government giving out more antigen test to different parts of the country.”

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