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Salem Students, Teachers Wait Hours For Free COVID Test After Holiday Break

SALEM (CBS) – The demand for a coronavirus test in Massachusetts, coupled with the rush for students to return to in-person learning after the holidays has created massive lines at testing centers.

Cars were bumper to bumper outside of the Horace Mann Laboratory School in Salem.

"I think it's a little crazy. There are so many people – what are you going to do," said Cheryl McLeod.

So many students hoping, waiting for a negative coronavirus test before returning to in-person learning after the holidays.

"I'm not worried about my test results. I've pretty much been home playing with my puppies," said Gabriella Tagliamonte.

People waited in line for more than two hours for a swab, but the Tagliamonte family says at least testing is available.

The city of Salem set up several of these free testing centers for North Shore students and teachers – many who will return to a hybrid learning model on January 11.

"I'm glad we have testing in our state because in other states it's much harder," said Tagliamonte.

The wait is anything but easy.

A row of cars extended out into the street simply to get into the main line for testing. A Salem police officer told WBZ-TV that the demand is so high, people will certainly be turned away.

After Christmas and New Year's, one parent said she's not worried to send her daughter back to high school. "No, because they have cohorts, so they have certain groups going back on certain days and certain times," said Cheryl McLeod. "I almost think we're immune. It's crazy to say that, but we're in it."

Tufts Medical Center epidemiologist, Dr. Shira Doron, told WBZ-TV that it could take at least a couple weeks to know the full impacts the New Year's Eve holiday had on Coronavirus cases.

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