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Some patients wait hours at urgent care clinics for COVID testing

Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 5:25 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 31, 2021 at 7:02 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More people are getting tested for COVID as the highly contagious Omicron variant continues to circulate, and that means longer wait times at testing facilities.

More Alabamians are getting tested for COVID and a spokesperson from MainStreet Family Care said that’s due in part to the fact that more people are traveling during the holiday season and wanted to be sure they didn’t have the virus before gathering with family and friends.

Health experts are discouraging people from going to emergency rooms to get tested because that interferes with patient care.

That means health departments, doctor’s offices, and urgent care centers are filling up, and some patients are waiting hours to be seen.

MainStreet Family Care offers both rapid and PCR COVID tests every day and manages it through an online registration system.

MainStreet said this helps get patients in and out faster and limits the amount of people in waiting rooms.

Time slots on the portal are given on a first come, first serve basis, and with demand high for COVID testing right now, you should be prepared to wait.

“We’ve certainly seen a huge increase in demand really here even in the last week. In December, we’ve been probably averaging about 400 to 500 tests a day company wide. This last week we’ve doubled that doing about a thousand tests a day. So, we have been seeing and increased wait time here especially this past week. Thankfully, those rapid tests do go pretty quickly once you get in, but it can be several hours before you’re called in,” said Betsy Stewart with MainStreet Family Care & KidsStreet Urgent Care.

Patients can book a time slot from home starting 30 minutes before the center opens.

A representative will text you when it’s your turn.

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