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Urgent care facilities in Hampton Roads prepared for post-holiday testing crowd

With many people returning home from Thanksgiving gatherings, traveling, or shopping — local clinics are stocked up in case more people want to seek a COVID-19 test.

VIRGINIA, USA — Velocity Urgent Care CEO Barbara Smith said the demand for PCR and rapid COVID-19 testing remains consistent at their at their Hampton Roads locations. 

"We haven't seen an increase, but not really seeing a decrease either," said Smith. 

That's taking into account levels before Thanksgiving and after, so far.

"We have not seen a spike or a drop in our positivity rate either," she said. 

Smith added the demand they're seeing now is nowhere near this time last year. 

If you need to get tested, health experts have some advice.

"The rapid test is not actually accurate unless you're sick," said Dr. Elizabeth Broderick in Newport News. 

Dr. Broderick explained that if you were exposed and not showing symptoms, PCR tests are the way to go.

At Velocity, Smith said results for a PCR test take about two to three days. Rapid test results take roughly 15 minutes.

And as this pandemic evolves, lots of people — especially scientists — are paying close attention to the emergence of the Omicron variant.

For Dr. Patrick Jackson, University of Virginia Health Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases, testing is one part of the solution.

He wants to see national urgency in improving access and supply of rapid tests.

"We're likely to see in the very near future some new treatments for COVID-19 be authorized by the FDA. And the abilities to diagnose COVID early and treat people very early, I think will make a big difference regardless of what variant comes down the pipeline," he said. 

Smith also said they're open to the discussion of using those new treatments for COVID-19 at their urgent care locations. That's, of course, if and when they are authorized. 

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