Residents having trouble finding rapid test appointments; prompting more local COVID testing events


RICHMOND, Va. — As positive COVID-19 cases increase, so is the demand for testing and some are having trouble finding appointments for rapid tests.

“They’re not always easy to find,” said Tracey Avery-Geter, community testing coordinator and lead nurse practitioner with the Richmond Henrico Health District.

As variants continue to fuel the pandemic, it’s creating some challenges for those wanting to get and find testing. Many are scrambling as available appointments are getting harder to find immediately or within a 48-hour window.

Booking a same-day or next-day online appointment with CVS has left many with a message that reads: There are no available times at this location. Try searching for availability on another date. A similar message occurs at local Walgreens’.

Some Patient First locations have posted signs and there is a message on their website stating only those who are displaying symptoms are eligible for testing due to ‘extremely high patient volume’.

In response to high testing demand, the Richmond Henrico Health District is implementing new testing hubs around the city and county. On Tuesday morning, from 9 to 11 a.m., at Second Baptist Church on Broad Rock Boulevard a line of cars formed with drivers and passengers waiting to get tested.

“Older events we were seeing nearly 10 people and now we are back up, close to 100,” said Tracey Avery-Geter.

Avery-Geter says the community testing hubs started last week and she has seen people drive-thru with symptoms, those who’ve traveled or are planning to, and those who’ve been exposed to the virus. Avery-Jeter says testing results at their events normally take two to three days to return and officials will call if the result is positive.

An official at the Richmond Henrico Health District told 8News that one in four tests are now coming back positive.

Nanisha Dozier-Cobb and her family traveled to the testing event Tuesday morning after her young daughter was exposed at a Richmond elementary school.

“Woodville Elementary had an outbreak yesterday,” said Dozier-Cobb. “She’s been around a young child with COVID, so we all have to be tested and quarantined. The school sent them home yesterday and all the families to the children that they sent home have to be tested before returning.”

With many students returning back to the classroom just last week, the number of children contracting the virus is on the rise. This leaves many questioning, will there be enough tests to keep up with high demand and newly implemented employment mandates.

President Joe Biden just announced new COVID-19 measures that require federal employees to get vaccinated or be subjected to weekly testing, which covers about 100 million workers.

8News reached out to the Virginia Department of Health who confirmed that rapid testing is in high demand and recommend people who want a rapid test to plan ahead if they’re getting tested for a specific event. This will allow time for scheduling and results to return. However, VDH says testing, in general, is becoming more widely available in our community.

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