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COVID-19 testing demand continues to surge despite stagnant supply

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Posted at 5:39 PM, Dec 29, 2021

PARMA, Ohio — From Cuyahoga to Huron to Lake County, COVID testing sites and test distributions continue to be in high demand, with long lines forming and supply dwindling. Health officials at the one-day testing site Wednesday morning at the Lake County Fairgrounds were forced to cut the line short just over an hour after the first car came through.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office was forced to shut down the COVID-19 testing site at the fairgrounds around 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday after all testing kits had been accounted for. The testing site had been scheduled until 3 p.m or until supplies lasted, and lines of cars started forming around sunrise.

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The overwhelming demand for testing in Lake County follows similar demand seen at the COVID testing site near University Circle in Cleveland last week. The federally-funded Center for COVID Control has also experienced a large spike in demand at its Parma testing site on Chevrolet Boulevard, according to supervisor Charity Ward.

“We are so overwhelmed,” Ward said. “It’s first come, first serve. We try to get everybody lined up and bring them in as swiftly and as safely as possible. We get as many tests as we can. We go through them so fast.”

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Ward said the spike in demand at her testing site traces back to early and mid-December, coinciding with the start of yet another winter surge in COVID cases. According to state data, there were a total of 296,863 confirmed lab tests and presumptive tests performed between Dec. 21 and Dec. 24. The positivity rate in that time span was just over 20%.

“On a daily basis, it’s so hard,” Ward said. “We’re always going to have the amount of people. It’s just a matter of how many tests we have available that day. If we have the kits, we can perform around 500 tests to 1,500 tests, depending on how well-staffed we are. Being that there are so many people out with COVID, a few of our [staff members] are out as well. We’re short-staffed just like everybody else.”