CLEVELAND — After a gridlock-filled day one, which featured the line being cut off three hours after it opened, the COVID-19 testing site in Cleveland near University Circle featured significant improvement. Although long lines formed on Wednesday, officials said it highlights the overwhelming demand for testing as the holidays grow closer and the number of new cases grow larger.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the director of the Ohio Dept. of Health, said Wednesday in a press briefing that the Cleveland COVID-19 testing site had administered more than 1,000 PCR tests on the first day alone.
“The demand there has been very, very high,” Vanderhoff said. “Of course, one day, a brand new site, we faced limitations in what we could do. Rest assured that we’re working and working every day to increase the capacity at that testing site.”
Long lines of cars began forming well ahead of the 9 a.m. start on the second day of the COVID testing site. People were motivated to seek the site’s testing services because of a local shortage of available at-home tests at retailers and pharmacies, as well as the continued surge in new cases. Ohio set a new record of new cases on Tuesday and then another new record on Wednesday with nearly 13,000.
“We’re here to get my daughter COVID tested. She got symptoms [on Tuesday] and we have not been able to find rapid tests or any tests really anywhere so here we are,” said Tanya Herne. “It is a little crazy. I understand because the omicron has passed so quickly so it’s been a little crazy. We’re just hoping that everybody stays healthy over the holidays.”
In addition to cutting the line short on Tuesday, health officials had to temporarily pause registrations for the testing site because of overwhelming demand.
“I’m here to get tested before the holidays,” said Nina Carrino. “ I tried calling different CVS locations, Rite Aids. I couldn’t get my hands on a test. I thought this was the best option. I have grandparents and everything and I want to keep them safe. I want to make sure that going into the holiday season that we keep everyone as safe as possible.”