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Long lines for COVID-19 tests persist; CDC adjusts quarantine guidance

One man told 13News Now he stood in line for an hour before he sat down for his COVID-19 test

NORFOLK, Va. — The line for a COVID-19 test stretched around the old Macy’s at Military Circle Mall on Monday with some waiting over an hour.

People are on the hunt for COVID-19 tests in Hampton Roads as the holidays wind down.

"It is absolutely essential if we want to turn this thing around and get our world back, not just America, but our world back like it should be," said 76-year-old Jerald Edwards.

At-home tests are hard to find and health officials say to slow down the spread of the omicron variant, you need to get tested after being with friends and family.

That's why Edwards, a retired teacher and Navy veteran, decided to wait in that line.

"Got in line about 1:45. It took an hour," he said. "Once you get into the facility, it takes about three minutes."

RELATED: 'About three hours;' Long lines as people wait for COVID-19 tests in Hampton Roads

Dr. Parham Jaberi with the Virginia Department of Health says the need for more tests is rising and they’re talking about adding another testing site Norfolk.

"I think what this is telling us, as the cases are rising, there’s a huge demand and I certainly think we can look more in to how the state can help support more community testing events."

Now the CDC is changing its recommendation for those who get a positive result.

On Monday, they cut isolation restrictions for Americans who have COVID-19, from 10 days to five.

The CDC says the guidance goes alongside the growing evidence that people with the coronavirus are most infectious in the two days before, and three days after symptoms develop.

The Virginia Department of Health reported 4,472 new cases on Monday.

Early research suggests omicron is more contagious than previous variants but may cause milder illnesses.

So, with more people getting infected, these new guidelines will help hospitals, airlines and other businesses keep going.

As cases are rising, and scientists believe this variant is more contagious, some doctors say it’s time to get back out your KN95 and N95 masks.

Newport News pediatrician Dr. Elizabeth Broderick says people have gotten relaxed with where they wear a mask and which kind.

She says the KN95 and the N95 offer more protection.

"I think we need to up our mask game because this is so contagious," she says. "If you’ve gotta be inside someplace, up your mask. Make sure it’s a KN95 or and N95 at least for the next several weeks while Omicron goes through the United States."