Covid testing

‘Extremely High' Demand for COVID Testing Continues, Impacting Traffic

A COVID-19 testing site in Waterford was so busy this morning that the space could not handle the demand. Police officers had to direct traffic and ask people to return to the site later.

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Long lines for COVID-19 testing persist across the state, as demand for testing surges nationwide. With the number of COVID-19 cases in Connecticut rising and the holidays approaching, the crunch is on for many to find a test.

"It is a little bit frustrating, but I know that it's hard for them to take care of the number of people who want to get tested," said Charlie Miller, after spending the morning trying to get tested.

In Waterford, a testing site was so busy that the space could not handle the demand. Police officers were directing traffic for hours outside of the library, asking people to loop around or come back to the site later in the day.

"Yea, It's frustrating, but what can you do?" said Barbara Pantalone, who said she drove by the site six times before getting a spot in line.

Ledge Light Health District reports that testing demand is especially high this week. LLHD helps run several testing sites in southeastern Connecticut including the one in Waterford. They also oversee a site in Groton, where 650 people were tested Tuesday.

"And it still wasn't enough to accommodate everybody," said Jennifer Muggeo, deputy director of health for LLHD.

Muggeo said the health district is working with municipal leaders and police departments to identify potential testing sites with more space.

"We are also working with the state to identify additional resources to add both days and hours possibly to existing sites- which may take some of the crunch off," said Muggeo.

In the meantime, the health district is asking for patience.

"Don't give up. Testing is an important tool to preventing the additional spread of COVID-19," said Muggeo, who also stressed the importance of wearing masks.

Hospital systems are also working to increase testing capacity.

"We are tripling our timeslots and it is still hard to keep up, so we are doing our best. Staffing continues to be a challenge, but we are doing the best we can with what we have," said Dr. Oliver Mayorga, chief medical officer of Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London.

There was another testing site in Danielson Wednesday at Quinebaug Valley Community College. People showed up as early as an hour before to make sure they could get a test.

"I spent the last day or so looking for a COVID test desperately," said Peter Howard, who is from Woodstock. He said he drove from Boston to his parents' home in Connecticut to get a test because he has had a cough.

People in the testing lines told us they were there for a variety of reasons. Some said they were not feeling well, while others had been exposed to the virus. Many said they wanted to get tested before seeing family for the holidays.

"You just want to be sure and with the omicron right now, everyone is wanting to get it done as quickly as possible to see," said Miller.

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