COVID-19 testing sites seeing increase in demand ahead of holidays

COVID-19 Vaccine

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Local health departments are seeing more people taking COVID-19 tests ahead of the holidays.

The Chesapeake Health Department hosts a testing event three days a week.

Jerry Tucker, who’s the public health emergency manager for the department, says many who do come out get tested as a part of their job requirement. But recently, he’s seen more in anticipation of Thanksgiving.

“We’ve seen a lot of people preparing for the holidays in terms of travel and family get-togethers. We’ve also seen a number of people preparing to go on cruises. I’d say last week, the majority of testing was everyone getting ready to go on a cruise,” he said.

Tucker says turnout for testing was pretty prevalent initially, but as the vaccine became more available, testing started to drop.

The testing sites are averaging around 50 to 50 tests per event with most of them rapid tests, according to Tucker.

Case numbers are down in Chesapeake, but Tucker says it also makes him optimistic knowing that people are trying to be cautious.

“It lets me know that people are aware of the issues and that’s always a good thing,” Tucker said. “We’re very happy with the trends but with the holidays coming up, especially with the weather getting cooler, people will certainly congregate inside more often and with a decrease in ventilation, that will exponentially increase our chances of seeing a surge. In fact, the modeling we’re looking at now, we’re predicting another surge at the end of December/January time frame.”

With an increase in testing, Tucker says they’ve also seen an increase in the number of people coming in for vaccines and boosters shots. They’re working with Chesapeake Public Schools and Rite Aid to help vaccinate the pediatric population.

He hopes that people will continue to take advantage of the resources they offer to keep the community safe.

“Especially if you’re going to be traveling or having a holiday get together, you could have COVID and not exhibit symptoms. You could feel perfectly fine. So especially if you’re not vaccinated, it’s critical that you do frequent testing to make sure for your own health and those around you,” Tucker said.

The health department hosts its clinic on Mondays at the Chesapeake Health Department from 2-7 p.m.

On Tuesdays, it hosts a testing and vaccine clinic at Dominion Commons Shopping Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On Thursdays, it hosts a testing clinic from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m at the Chesapeake Health Department.

Rapid and PCR testing is availalbe.

For more information on testing or to get a COVID vaccine, click here.

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