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Following Christmas, Many Wait Out Long Lines In Cold For COVID Tests

DORCHESTER (CBS) – The line for a COVID-19 test wrapped around the Bowdoin Street Health Center in Dorchester Monday.

People inched along for the coveted post-Christmas COVID swab.

"It's REALLY cold," said 11-year-old Edwin Solano.

Solano was exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus while spending the holiday with family.

As temperatures dipped into the thirties, the Solano family says each minute in line feels much longer, but it's worth the wait for some peace of mind.

"I was exposed to it, but my first test came back negative," said Celvin Solano. "I wanted to take another one to re-confirm that I'm negative."

Since many testing centers were closed over the holiday weekend, Boston Medical Center's Director of Pediatric Medicine Dr. Sadiqa Kendi told WBZ-TV that healthy people were showing up to their emergency department for a test before traveling home.

"People who may not be sick getting exposed to people who are sick, and so they might need to be tested for travel, but if they getting exposed in the process, it defeats the process and is a huge public health concern," said Dr. Kendi.

Frustration was building among people waiting outside in the cold in Dorchester and for health care workers. Staffing is stretched thin by the Omicron variant and only two people were seen at BSHC administering tests.

"There's just a huge backlog and they're super short-staffed right now. There's only two people working the tent. They're doing the tests and then also collecting the forms," said David Ninh.

While it's uncomfortable and inconvenient, Celvin Solano said everyone plays a part in stopping the spread.

"For friends and family, you wouldn't want to put them in harm's way so the smartest thing you could do is get tested."

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