VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — High coronavirus case rates, combined with people traveling after the holidays, have led to an increase in people searching for a COVID-19 test in Virginia.
Staff at community testing clinics, pharmacies and urgent care facilities say they're slammed.
“We are seeing extreme volume,” explained Velocity Urgent Care CEO Barbara Smith. “Some of our centers are seeing almost exclusively COVID patients coming seeking COVID tests, or are symptomatic for COVID.”
Velocity leaders said for the past few days, a line of people have started standing at the front doors of some of the centers before they even open. They believe many people want to know if they caught the virus after gathering with family over the holidays.
“Over the last couple of weeks, we are at the levels of patients per day that we were seeing at the beginning of January of this year,” said Velocity Urgent Care Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tim Hutchison.
Leaders with Velocity Urgent Care said they have plenty of COVID-19 tests, however, the challenge is to keep up with demand. Appointments are booked up fast and walk-in appointments could take hours.
"Our staff is very busy, and so answering the phone is a little bit challenging," Smith said. "That's where the walk-ins come in and we are trying to accommodate them the best that we can.”
While Velocity would like to offer more appointments, leaders said they simply don’t have enough staff to accommodate the need.
"In probably the last seven to ten days, we have doubled the amount of patients we've seen wanting to test, and the positive rates," Hutchison said. "Just across our clinics has doubled from 14% positive from a week ago, to 28% positive yesterday.”
Health leaders said if you think you have COVID-19, quarantine immediately and get a test.
If you are still searching for a COVID-19 test, click here to set up an appointment at Velocity Urgent Care.
Click here to search for tests through the Virginia Department of Health's website.