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Some struggled getting appointments for COVID-19 tests at Newport News center, but it's officially open

People with scheduled appointments showed up to get their COVID-19 test at the mass clinic in Newport News, but some people struggled setting up an appointment.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — More COVID-19 testing opportunities are open for business at a new community testing center in Newport News' Sherwood Shopping Center

Virginia Department of Health (VDH) leaders said they expanded the testing availability in wake of majorly increased demand.

Appointments opened up Monday, Jan. 10 at 9 a.m. The clinic runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays through Thursdays. 

While many people scheduled their appointments through the VDH website, others couldn't, and had to be turned away until they could schedule in a time slot.

Many of the people who showed up for a test say they struggled for a while to find one, until the Community Testing Clinic (CTC) opened.

"I looked it up on the internet. There were no appointments available for the next several days," said Jacqueline Flynn. "I live in Williamsburg and I couldn't find one. This was the only place that I could find a test in the next week."

Rochelle Belton-Moore said she recently had a COVID-19 exposure and wanted to get tested to keep her family safe. She said she liked that the CTC is right near her home.

"I just got back from Massachusetts, and I tried to get tested there. The lines were so long, I just said forget it," said Belton-Moore. "I thought I was going to have to go across the water or somewhere else, but this worked out. This is just perfect."

The testing clinic is separate from the vaccination clinic. When you arrive for a test, you'll find a white tent outside with a big sign where you can get your test.

While many were able to schedule an appointment on time, others struggled to get a slot due to technical issues. 

Jewel Johnson needed a negative test before she could go back to work. She said she couldn't get the website to work to schedule an appointment.

"The website might be crashed, but I've been waiting about over an hour here to see if I can get an appointment, or try to get an appointment," said Johnson. "Everywhere I try to go to get tested, you got to have an appointment." 

The Newport News location isn't the only spot in Hampton Roads. The Military Circle Mall's new Community Testing Clinic begins 9 a.m. through 5:30 p.m., starting Tuesday.

It will also run every Saturday through Thursday and you must have an appointment scheduled before you arrive.