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Tampa Bay COVID-19 Testing Demand Increases, Lines Wrap Around Buildings

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - The demand for COVID-19 testing is skyrocketing. Local testing sites are seeing long lines and long wait times...and local pharmacies are also booked for days in advance.

At the Hillsborough County COVID-19 testing site on North Rome Avenue on Tuesday, the line to get tested wraps around the building almost twice, and people keep coming in to get tested. People in line say they're waiting over an hour.

Thomas Iovino with the Pinellas County Department of Health says "The numbers are up, people are wanting to go get tested."

Iovino within the last few days the number of people heading to county COVID-19 testing sites is increasing.

"From what we hear, there are a number of people in for testing…a larger number with Omicron out there so people are going to get more testing done," said Iovino.

This statement from the Pinellas County Health Department says "We are monitoring the situation with testing and we are in communication with our partners exploring the possibility of additional testing sites based the ability of current testing locations to handle the demand."

The Manatee County Department Of Health said they are also experiencing high testing demand, saying "We have learned that when testing demand goes up, the positivity rate goes up and we want to prepare for another wave. Manatee County has decided to keep our COVID-19 testing site at the bradenton area convention center because the demand is so high right now."

At the Hillsborough County COVID-19 testing site on North Rome Avenue, people wrapped around the building, waiting hours to get tested.

Iovino says we are seeing a surge in testing demand because Omicron is so contagious and because of the holidays.

"Obviously people are traveling, people are concerned about the spread of this new Omicron variant, people want to make sure they aren't carrying this virus to their loved ones," said Iovino.

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