Health officials bracing for possible high COVID-19 testing demand

There's been a rush of COVID-19 testing at urgent care facilities over the past few weeks....
There's been a rush of COVID-19 testing at urgent care facilities over the past few weeks. Health leaders expect to see more of it as the Omicron variant continues to spread.(WBRC)
Published: Dec. 24, 2021 at 10:30 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There’s been a rush of COVID-19 testing at urgent care facilities over the past few weeks. Health leaders expect to see more of it as the Omicron variant continues to spread.

Even though there hasn’t necessarily been a surge in COVID testing at Jefferson County sites, Dr. David Hicks with the county department of health expects its on the way.

“I anticipate that is certainly coming particularly since we’ve recommended that before the holidays about one to two days before you travel, you should get a test,” Dr. Hicks said.

At Main Street Urgent Care, people have been coming in non-stop the past two weeks getting COVID tests. We’re told many of those folks taking extra precaution to make sure their families remain protected.

“For the past few weeks we have averaged 200 tests a day and the past two days we have done 400 tests a day,” Betsy Stewart with Main Street Urgent Care said.

Stores and pharmacies around the country are running low on at-home COVID tests. CVS and Walgreens are limiting the number of tests a person can buy due to demand. Locally, those tests are still available, but pharmacies and doctors expect they may run low on supply soon due to how quickly the Omicron variant is spreading.

Hicks says you may end up having to look a little harder to find tests than you did a few weeks ago.

“You can go to an urgent care center. You can call your private medical doctor who should have access to testing, and we have four community health centers in Jefferson County that are doing testing,” Hicks added.

You can find a list of COVID-19 vaccine and testing sites in Jefferson County here.

This week the Biden administration announced it will have 500 million free at-home COVID tests ready next month to be mailed out to anyone who requests one through a government website. The administration also planning to set up more COVID testing sites nationwide.

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