MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Lines are growing longer by the day for COVID-19 testing at sites across the state. The reason? People are hoping to get tested before this weekend’s holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, many are finding testing hard to come by.
On Monday, nearly 67,000 tests were performed in Connecticut. According to the Department of Public Health, that triples the total from just last Thursday.
Demand is huge for at-home rapid tests. They are flying off pharmacy shelves. In a normal year, people are waiting in long lines for toys before the holidays, but this year the long lines are to get tested for COVID-19.
The first people started lining up a full hour before the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center even opened. From there, the line kept growing. Everybody wanted to keep the people they care about safe and healthy.
“Being with family, we want to make sure everyone is safe, and also, we were with a big group of people, and we don’t know if they had COVID, so we want to get checked out and make sure we don’t have it also,” said Angelo Onorati.
In Waterford, one testing site backed up traffic for miles on Route 156. The police were warning drivers to stay away. Along Sergeant Drive in New Haven, cars were backed up the length of the parking lot for a new testing site there.
The testing site at AME Zion Church off West Street in Middletown ran out of COVID-19 tests an hour and a half before it was supposed to close on Tuesday afternoon. The line extended down the street, everyone wanting to get tested before Christmas.
The site supervisor from Wren Labs told News 8 they didn’t expect the run out of tests so quickly. Typically, they have about 300 tests on-hand and usually have about 100 leftovers at the end of the day. Tuesday, knowing there would be increased demand, they had 100 additional tests on-hand. But it wasn’t enough.
“It was really chaotic. The policemen had to come and help us too because the traffic was insane,” said Evelyn Juela, Wren Labs COVID-19 testing site supervisor.
There were dozens of cars that showed up to the site only to be turned away, those inside needing to find another way to get tested.
Patricia Sullivan of East Hartford said, “It’s a little bit disturbing. They had to know that there was going to be a rush because of the holidays and whatnot.”
Blakeley Crevoiserat of Glastonbury added, “It’s frustrating but I understand that everyone wants to get tested. This omicron variant is very infectious so I think everyone’s very concerned.”
Gabrielle Lanza wanted to get tested before visiting her 90-year-old grandmother but had trouble making an appointment or finding a rapid test in stock. She is now second-guessing her trip.
“I’m out of luck today,” Lanza said. “I’m a little disappointed. I’m a little scared. I’m not sure if it’s the right idea to go see family this weekend.”
You can still find local pharmacies and other testing sites across the state with rapid tests in stock. Click here to see test site locations.