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NYC Sees Long Lines At Some COVID Testing Sites As Cases Keep Climbing

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - As COVID cases spike, more people are getting tested, but that's leading to longer waits at testing sites.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reports on some of the best places and times to avoid long lines.

With a second wave here, people are lining up to get tested across the boroughs, waiting hours in line at an Upper West Side CityMD and at an Urgent Care in the Bronx.

It's the same situation in Queens, where people actually set up chairs.

"Apparently, we need more testing sites, it seems," said Bed-Stuy resident Erica Delgado.

Delgado attempted twice last week to two walk-in clinics in Bed-Stuy for non-COVID issues, waited an hour and left - not getting the care she was seeking.

More: Aggressive Effort To Curb COVID-19 infection Rates Begins On Staten Island; N.J. Restrictions Looming

"I asked the people on the line are you here for COVID testing or flu shot, they said oh were here for COVID." Delgado said. "I was surprised because I thought we were at a point where testing was widely available."

So what's the problem?

"When you Google 'COVID testing' it directs you to CityMD and things like that, so that's the first thing people are going to go," she said.

The Department of Health is directing people to an online COVID-19 test site finder. You put in your zip code for nearby locations.

LINK: NYC Department of Health's COVID-19 Test Site Finder | NYC Health + Hospitals Testing Locations

You can also text 855-48 with the word "COVID TEST" for a list, or simply call 311. There are more than 250 testing sites citywide, and not all see the same traffic.

"I would say at NYC Health + Hospitals, our lines tend to move fairly quickly, and we're not experiencing the multiple hour waits we are seeing at some of our urgent cares across the city," said Dr. Andrew Wallach, head of testing for the Test & Trace Corps.

"Is there a time of day that's best for people to go?" DeAngelis asked.

"Our volume on Saturdays and Sundays tend to be lower," he said. "Or sometimes also late morning or early afternoon tend not to be as high traffic times."


Dr. Wallach says up to 50,000 people a day are getting tested.

"We just want people to come out and get tested. That's how we can protect loved ones and continue to open our great city," he said.

More: NYC Officials Urge People Not To Travel For Thanksgiving As De Blasio Says City Is Seeing Worrisome COVID Increase

Which may be worth the wait.

He also says turnaround time has gotten shorter.

"Our turnaround time for tests results across New York City have improved significantly," Wallach said. "You will get your results within 48 hours if not sooner."

A spokesperson for CityMD says because they are a walk-in business, they are not set up to handle multiple lines -- one for COVID testing and one for other medical concerns. The spokesperson says employees try to walk the lines often to see patients with acute illnesses as soon as possible.


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