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Rapid tests hard to find as COVID cases rise in Virginia, just ahead of holidays

Virginia recorded more than 8,700 new coronavirus the day before Christmas. That's the second-highest daily case jump in the entire pandemic.

HAMPTON, Va. — This Christmas is hardly about what’s under the tree for Margie Belew. 

Rather, the company she's expecting over this holiday season is far more important.

“First time I’ve seen my grandson in over 2 years," said Belew, describing her big dinner plans on the night before Christmas.

While Margie and her husband Bill searched for booster doses and rapid tests at a Christmas Eve vaccine clinic ahead of their family gathering, they left without the latter.

“Having Christmas together, is huge. All of us together, finally in one place," Belew said.

At the clinic held at Boo Williams Sportsplex, many people showed up looking to receive the results of a rapid antigen test, but left without answers. 

Gaylene Kanoyton, president of Celebrate Healthcare and one of the clinic organizers, said that demand is at such a high level that even their suppliers were unable to provide rapid testing options for the Christmas Eve clinic. 

“The labs we generally used, were booked, so unable to come. This particular lab we’re using now didn’t have the rapid testing for us."

Officials with the Virginia Department of Health reported more than 8,700 new infections Friday. The day before, new infection numbers were under 7,000. 

The last time COVID-19 daily case numbers reached Christmas Eve's level in Virginia was back in January. 

Margie and Bill said they were still thankful for the booster dose, anyway. 

“As long as it doesn’t affect our appetite, going to have a big dinner!" Belew laughed.

Currently, there are more than 1,500 Virginians hospitalized with COVID-19. 

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