HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — With the holidays coming up, Black Friday is not the only place you will have to wait in lines. There is a lot of pressure on the COVID-19 testing sites across Connecticut. Now the governor stepping up to try and create more testing with longer hours as it seems like everyone needs to get tested.
Adding to the wait is college students who need a negative test to return home, and if you’re leaving or entering the state, you need a negative test too.
Wednesday morning started with lines that rivaled Black Friday. There were hour-plus wait times at a COVID center in Norwalk as people started waiting before it even opened. Hartford HealthCare said it’s not the lab capacity or supplies, but personnel that’s creating the longer lines.
Dr. Jim Cardon explained, “Our biggest constraint right now is our ability to acquire the specimens, so we need to all work together to create access to those tests. “
When you look at the long lines, Connecticut is actually way out in front, leading the way with the fourth highest tests per capita in the nation, and Governor Ned Lamont is adding more.
The state’s Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said, “We have added 60 testing sites in the last two weeks that’s a 30% increase. We are now over 260 testing sites around the state.”
Hartford HealthCare added one of its newest sites at the Convention Center in Hartford. Wednesday morning before it even opened, cars were lined up around the block. In addition to adding two new sites, they are also working to expand services at existing sites.
Geballe added, “We are working with all of our testing partners to increase their hours of operation, to add more staff, and more lanes, and we are putting a ton of financial support behind it to make that happen.”
Also to help cut down on lines, the City of Hartford has a mobile testing center that moved from place to place throughout the week. There are different locations that way people who can’t get out into the community can walk to those sites when they come into their neighborhood.
“It’s important to remind people, too, that testing is not a panacea,” Geballe said. “The important thing everyone needs to do is take the precautions to make sure they don’t get sick in the first place. Try to stay home as much as possible this holiday season and keep those gathering small.”