Virginia Beach looking to triple usual number of COVID-19 tests

COVID-19 Testing

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — All day long on Friday, people showed up at the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health to get tested for COVID-19.

Some said they thought we need more testing sites. Some have waited two weeks to get tested. This is by appointment only. Some people who showed up for tests have had COVID-19 and came for a test to see if they are now negative.

People tested on Friday at the Virginia Beach clinic are expected to get results back in about three to five days. 

Frenette Thomas came to the department Friday with her young son in a child safety seat.

“This is my second time getting tested. I had to go to North Carolina for my first test because I couldn’t get one here in Virginia. They told me they were out of test kits. They told me to try to get me in two weeks or I would have to pay for a test,” she said. 

Dottie Norman showed up because she heard about the testing site on WAVY-TV on Thursday night.

“It was on Channel 10. It was Anita Blanton.. She said it would be available and not a lot of people came through the lines,” she said. 

And that started Norman and her life partner Tim Berkhimer’s trek to get COVID-19 tested in Virginia Beach.

“I drove by here this morning about 9 and they told me to come back at 1 [p.m.],” she said.  

Standing in line would take much longer than the test. It was quick, but eye-watering and uncomfortable. With a snap of a finger, it’s done. 

The pair said they are frustrated it took so long to get this COVID-19 test.

“We both had COVID-19. I could not stay home, and I wanted to get out. I was getting stir crazy. I couldn’t get any COVID tests,” she said.

Virginia Beach’s new Public Health Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati said getting appointments online is the place to start — and they’re working to increase the number of tests they do each day.

“We want people to know we are making appointments at the Health Department through the website. Follow the link. We try to do 100 COVID-19 tests a day and hope to increase that to 300 a day next week,” Pedati said. 

On Friday, they gave 77 tests. 

Pedati says the trend in Virginia Beach is going in the wrong direction.

“Unfortunately, like many other places, here in Virginia Beach we have seen significant virus activity in the past couple of weeks. And that’s what happens in winter… That is why the most important thing we can do is get vaccinated and get boosted. We got great vaccines that are safe and work really well. We want people to take advantage of that,” she said. 

It seems to be common sense, but after almost two years of living with COVID-19, here we still are. Pedati reminds everyone.

“Wear masks, safe distance, staying home when you are sick,” she said. 

Norman also had this shout-out for the COVID-19 testing crew.

“Thanks to them. They are wonderful. To the people get vaccinated and get a booster whatever you need to do whatever you need to let’s stop this mess,” Norman said. 

Virginians who have not been fully vaccinated, or are eligible for booster doses, can visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (877) 829-4682 to find nearby vaccination clinics.

Those seeking to find or schedule a testing appointment can visit vase.vdh.virginia.gov/testingappointment.

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