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Local COVID-19 Testing Sites Brace For Surge Of Patients

TARENTUM (KDKA) -- It's a feeling of Deja vu as long lines are back for COVID testing.

The line outside the First United Presbyterian Church in Tarentum was just one of the testing sites in the area. From the moment, it opened at 9 a.m. there was a line.

"I guess it's good everybody gets tested. I don't mind getting tested. I don't mind wearing a mask," Keith Rogers of New Kensington said while waiting in line.

"I'm glad people are getting tested. I'm glad people are coming out and utilizing the service," New Kensington resident Charles Gibbons said.

He was getting tested after a possible exposure. His rapid tests have come back negative, but he wanted something more reliable.

"Had an exposure potentially on Friday. Out of an abundance of caution wanted to get tested," Gibbons said while waiting in line.

Infectious disease physician Dr. Amesh Adalja said this demand was to be expected.

"People are going to want to know their status, and I think it's really important that we have this demand be met with supply," Dr. Adalja said over Zoom.

He said the lack of testing infrastructure is inexcusable, saying it was short-sighted to turn testing sights into vaccine sights.

Allegheny County leaders say this is not the case here at least as they continue to build testing sites in addition to their vaccine sites.

He believed the demand for testing should slow down but there will still be a solid demand, as more places require them. Another factor will be people getting tested as omicron causes more breakthroughs.

"With omicron they are almost the norm because of the mutations this variant has. You are still susceptible to getting infected. If you have symptoms, you need to be tested," Dr. Adalja said.

"I've got a couple more things that we've got to go to so we've got to get tested to make sure nothing is wrong," Rogers told KDKA.

While supply is working to be increased, chains like CVS and Walgreens have put a limit on the number of at home tests people can get.

To register for a testing site visit this link through Allegheny County.

Some people told KDKA they had to wait an hour to be tested. We are working to learn what is causing delays.

Allegheny County issued this statement in response:

"There is no issue with the number of tests available.

Curative advises us that all slots are full at a majority of their testing sites, except for McKeesport and a small window at the Parkway Center site. As a result, folks who are trying to do a 'walk-up' appointment will be turned away at those sites. Because the sites are fully booked, individuals are experiencing longer wait times, but the times remain manageable. In some cases, the wait times are longer due to the amount of traffic getting into or out of a site if Curative is not the only offering there – not because Curative is that long of a wait."

For more information on how you can register at Curative's testing sites, click here.

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