Demand rising for COVID-19 tests amid Omicron surge

Demand rising for COVID-19 tests amid Omicron surge
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 5:42 PM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Almost every Indiana county is back in the red on the state’s COVID-19 map, according to numbers released Wednesday.

As Omicron surges across the country, the demand for COVID-19 tests is on the rise, forcing people to wait longer to be tested.

Earlier in the pandemic, many locations would take walk-ins for COVID-19 testing. Now, nearly all testing sites require an appointment, which often isn’t available right away.

”It might take a little while to get an appointment, maybe 12 to 24 hours,” Joe Gries, the administrator at the Vanderburgh County Health Department said.

Gries says if you have COVID-19 symptoms, a PCR test is best, but it could take a day or two to get your results.

”If you have those types of symptoms, we suggest you get an appointment, and you get a PCR test,” Gries said. “It takes about 24 to 48 hours right now to get those results.”

The time it takes to get an appointment, combined with the amount of time it takes to get test results, leaves many people isolating for several days before they get their results.

Gries says that those deemed as close contacts should seek out tests as well, but not right away.

”Getting that test the next day, that rapid test, isn’t going to help you,” Gries said. “You want to wait that three, maybe to five days.”

Fully-vaccinated close contacts are instructed to wear a mask until they can get test results. Unvaccinated individuals should quarantine until they can be tested.

The wait for COVID-19 results could take several days right now, especially with new restrictions on who can get a rapid test.

”If you’re 18 and under, you can receive a test from your school, or if you have symptoms and you’re 50 and over,” Gries said.

President Biden is promising to help solve the testing delays, planning to mail a half-billion COVID-19 tests to people’s homes.

As for at-home tests right now, officials from CVS say in part, “Due to a recent surge in demand... at-home tests may be temporarily out of stock at CVS.com.”

Gries says that the best way to find the next available test in your area is to visit www.coronavirus.in.gov. People can then find a map with testing locations in their area.

Gries says there are currently 18 testing sites in Vanderburgh County.

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