HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A health fair in Hampton was one of the few places to get a COVID-19 test Saturday.
Celebrate Healthcare held a Health and Wellness fair at the Hampton Roads Convention Center.
Gaylene Kanoyton, President of Celebrate Healthcare, organized the health fair. People could stop by for a free COVID-19 test, all three FDA-approved vaccines, health screenings, mammograms, and even apply for job opportunities.
Several guest speakers took the stage including, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Dr. Janice Underwood.
Kanoyton tells 10 On Your Side more people than ever are showing up to testing and vaccine clinics after the holidays.
“People are afraid now, it’s closer to home. Their family, their friends are [all testing positive with COVID]. Not just one or two, I’m talking about whole families.”
Despite the surge in the omicron variant cases, COVID testing locations are hard to find. 10 On Your Side reports locations like the Military Circle Mall in Norfolk reserve Mondays for testing from 2-6 p.m.
In addition, most pharmacy appointments are booked. Kanoyton believes more testing sites are needed.
“It’s critical that everyone gets tested because we have a major outbreak. Easy access is critical too. We want to make sure that there are a lot of tests out here and places to get tested. It’s a challenge trying to find a place to get tested.”
The health fair had a line around the building before the doors opened at 10 a.m.
Deborah Edwards was one of the first in line in the cold about an hour early.
“My mother had a massive stroke. I thought it was very important before I go around her today to make sure I tested negative,” said Edwards.
Kanoyton believes access to at-home tests could really cut down on the long lines.
“People got to get back to work and they have to have a negative test to go back to work.”
She said limited tests impact Black and brown communities most.
“They underserved population, they live paycheck to paycheck, they can’t afford to be out of work, that’s a health disparity.”
Another health fair is Sunday at the Hampton Roads Convention Center from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. There is also a COVID-19 testing center every Friday at the Sixth Mount Zion church in Hampton at 3100 Butternut in Hampton.
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.