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COVID-19 tests in high demand ahead of Thanksgiving

When you look online, it’s nearly impossible to find and book an appointment to get tested for COVID-19. If you do come across one, it’s probably after the holiday.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Coronavirus testing sites are seeing a surge in demand ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Health officials say the influx is because people are looking to get tested before family gatherings and traveling to other states.

When you look online, it’s nearly impossible to find and book an appointment to get tested for COVID-19. If you do come across one, it’s probably after the holiday. 

“We are trying to accommodate as many as we can. Unfortunately, the demand is so high, we can’t get to everyone,” explained East Beach Urgent Care Office Manager Grace McFadden.

It’s a testing crunch, creating a challenge for many people who want a COVID-19 test.

“We filled all of our appointments until Friday, the day after Thanksgiving,” McFadden explained.

The pandemic problem is happening all across Hampton Roads as people get ready to gather with their families this Thanksgiving.

“We are seeing a large number of people requesting testing and a large amount of people calling into our Telehealth and requesting testing,” explained Jeff Forman, the Chief Medical Officer for Bayview Physicians Group.

Forman said more testing creates more of a wait time for people. The average time to get results is about two days.

Online, the big stores like Walmart, CVS, and Rite Aid say due to high demand, there are no available times for a COVID-19 test before Thanksgiving at several locations. Patient First officials had no availability until after the holiday. Velocity Urgent Care Officials said appointments are hard to find right now. They are available every 72 hours.

Velocity Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tiffany Sibley said, “We were seeing around 1,150 to 1,200 people a day. In the last week, we’ve seen numbers over 1,300 across our company so we have definitely seen that increase in demand.” 

If you are looking for a COVID-19 test, Urgent Care officials say your best bet is to keep looking online at the appointment schedule. If someone cancels, it will be added back online.

“There are cancellations all of the time so if you check the websites several times a day to see if there has been a cancellation and an availability has opened up,” Dr. Sibley said.

Health officials said If you can’t find an appointment and believe you may have symptoms of COVID-19, it’s best to say home and quarantine.