With a surge in cases and the holidays approaching, COVID-19 testing is again in demand. Long lines have become common, as both symptomatic and asymptomatic people are getting tested.
At the New Britain Stadium testing site Monday, cars were lined up from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Bumper to bumper, for hundreds of yards, people waited in line for an hour or more.
Patti Specter of Rocky Hill was among those waiting. Specter said she’s had a nagging cough since mid-November and decided to get tested but had difficulty finding an appointment.
“The appointments were too far ahead,” she said.
Symptomatic people aren’t the only ones being tested. Adding to the demand are those who plan to spend time with friends and family for the holidays.
“I have my family that supposed to attend my house on Christmas day,” said Pansy Kennedy of New Britain. “I want to make sure that I don’t have COVID.”
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) said this demand has skyrocketed in the past six weeks.
“With the delta variant from the summer and omicron, the demand for COVID testing has gone up tremendously,” said DPH spokesperson Chris Boyle.
The lines weren’t isolated to New Britain. In Hartford, people stood in a lengthy line outside waiting to be tested. Dozens braved the cold in a line that wrapped around the property at a testing site on Albany Avenue.
Among those in line was Beverly Francis Ward, who said she is symptomatic after recently being exposed to the virus.
“I am out here now and I’m not feeling well at all,” she said.
People we spoke with in Hartford weren’t surprised by the lengthy waits.
According to DPH, there are 394 testing sites in the state right now. The state encourages those looking for appointments to call 2-1-1 or log onto 211ct.org.
“It’s a very user-friendly site. Not only for COVID but for any other assistance (people) may need,” said Boyle.
Adding to the situation is the demand for at-home testing kits. In a statement, CVS said due to the recent surge in cases, they are working around the clock to keep inventory in stock. In the event of a temporary shortage, they say there is a process to rapidly replenish supply.
DPH said it is also looking at the possibility of adding more testing sites. In the meantime, health officials continue to encourage people to get vaccinated.
According to state data, over 13 million tests have been done during the pandemic, and over 90,000 of those have been done since Friday.