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Virginia Beach Health Department plans to offer more COVID-19 tests based on continued high demand

The health department hopes to increase the number of tests available to 300 for the week of January 16.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Author's note: The video above is on file from Jan. 12, 2021.

The line for COVID-19 testing outside the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health’s Pembroke Office may seem small, but the demand for a test is not.

Health Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati said she hoped more testing opportunities at the health department would help hospital workers as they battle the latest COVID-19 surge.

"We want to make sure we’re offering that resource outside of emergency rooms and urgent care settings," Pedati said.

For the next few weeks, the health department will offer testing to residents from Wednesdays through Fridays. 

Just like other parts of Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach has been experiencing an increase in demand for COVID-19 testing. Pedati said that will likely die down soon, but it’s tough to predict exactly when.

"Compared to last year, it did take a couple of weeks out of the winter season, but this is a different strain," she said. "There are some things that we need to keep a close eye on. We’re hopeful that we’ll start to see activity decrease in the coming weeks.”

Until then, the department plans to bump up the number of tests administered.

“We’re hoping to increase that to 300 next week,” she said.

The health department was set to administer 100 tests on Thursday. She hoped the increase in tests would meet the city's demand.

“We want to remain flexible and really we do that, whether we’re talking about COVID or the flu or anything else that’s affecting our community,” Pedati said.