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Long Waits Are The Norm As COVID-19's Spread Keeps Demand For Testing High

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - As COVID-19 continues to rapidly spread, every diagnosis sends others scrambling to get tested.  Even as more testing sites come online, long waits are becoming the norm.

"I got here about 11:30... and it's 2:30 now," explains a still cheerful Phil Foster at a free pop-up testing site hosted by Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas.  "Anywhere you go, this is what you're going to find."

The line of cars quickly filled the parking lot queue and spilled onto the street - many arrived even before the gates opened.  Patience, the price of precious peace of mind.

"I have an 81-year-old mom," explained Foster, who said he felt just fine but was looking for a test for reassurance.  "That's my main concern."

Although patient with the wait and grateful for the free testing, Foster, like so many, is frustrated that around every corner, COVID-19 is still lurking.

"Yeah, it's getting a lot of people," shares Selenna Alejandro, while waiting her turn. "Almost everyone in my family was getting it, my boyfriend's family, everyone has gotten it."

The 26-year-old says she skipped the vaccine, telling herself that hand washing and mask wearing would be enough. It wasn't.  She spent Christmas and New Year's in a hospital COVID-19 ward.

"It was bad," she says, "it gave me pneumonia, [I] couldn't eat...throwing up. I had problems breathing and then I had to go to hospital to get oxygen and I was there for the whole Christmas and New Year's... yeah, it was bad."

So, church leaders say, they want to do their part to help prevent the situation from getting any worse.

"We are all in this together," says Friendship-West's Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Frederick Haynes III, "so all of us should do our part. Get tested. Get vaccinated...we can beat it."

Pastor Haynes says he understands that even some vaccinated parents have been hesitant to protect younger children, so he's calling on them to "trust the Savior, and the science."  The church will host more COVID-19 testing AND a vaccination clinic after its (back to online only) worship service on Sunday.

"Faith is a verb," explains Pastor Haynes, "and so we are believing, but we are also acting."

So, while Alejandro is in line hoping to get the 'all clear', when she does, she says her next step will be to ward off regrets.

"Oh, yeah," exclaims Alejandro, " I'm gonna get vaccinated!"

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