VDH expands COVID testing access across commonwealth; more testing sites for Hampton Roads


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Eastern Hampton Roads has one of the highest seven-day positivity rates for COVID-19 in all of the commonwealth.

Cases are rising, and so is the need for testing.

Right now Virginia has a 10% seven-day positivity rate. Norfolk and Virginia Beach are at about 16% and Portsmouth is at about 18%.

From limited appointments to hours of waiting in line, state and local health officials are once again seeing a surge in people seeking a COVID-19 test.

Dr. Laurie Forlano serves as the deputy director for the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Epidemiology. She told 10 On Your Side the rush to get tested began in July following the upward curve of the delta variant.

Now, localities throughout the commonwealth are asking for more testing sites and resources to staff them because healthcare workers are stretched between caring for sick patients and helping those in need of a test.

“They’re flooding these sites, points of access that were originally built for symptomatic people or people who are close contacts and now we’re seeing that stretch or are strained a little bit with people seeking screening testing,” said Forlano.

VDH is now scheduling more than 170 community testing events across the state in September.

“We receive the requests from the local level and then we try to match them with the resources that we have and get those events scheduled,” Dr. Forlano explained.

One of those mass events will take place weekly at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk.

“We realize we’re going to need somewhat of a footprint for a larger community,” said Dr. Parham Jaberi, acting health director for Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

Jaberi told 10 On Your Side the plan is for the mall is to host a community testing clinic every Monday going forward.

“That’ll give us a chance to send the lab results to the state lab and get it as quick as possible and be able to share rather than having the weekend in between. I’m completely open and we may be opening up a second day of testing given the increased interest and unfortunately the higher positivity rate in the eastern region of Hampton Roads,” Jaberi stated.

To find a COVID testing site near you, click here.

For more information about testing, call 877-829-4682 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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