CLEVELAND, Ohio — The number of COVID-19 cases in Ohio and across the country are rising right before the holiday and testing sites are overwhelmed with people trying to get results before seeing friends and family.
But finding a last-minute test hasn't been easy with high demand for rapid and PCR tests at pharmacies and hospitals. Testing kits that can be done at home flew off shelves.
"It's absolutely impossible," Bradley Shultzaberger said outside the pop-up testing site at the Cleveland Clinic location at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Stokes Friday morning.
He's been looking for a test for several days after doctors encouraged him to find out if he had COVID-19 or the flu.
"We've been driving around to get one, going places," he said. "(We) had people looking spots up online. It's really difficult."
Since the site opened on Monday, lines of cars clogged the streets and demand forced the Clinic to shut down appointments early. But, as the holiday got closer, the lines were shorter, and the process smoothed out. That's how Shultzaberger was able to get a test right before seeing family.
"Once we got to this place, it's actually been very nice," he said. Now he waits.
While some people were in line at the Clinic pop-up site, a hidden gem was also doing last minute rapid tests. The Cleveland Urgent Care at East 79th Street and Euclid Avenue had a group of people waiting to find out if it was safe to see others.
"This was the last spot I could find last minute," said Jimmy Hayden. He travels from Cleveland to Canada regularly and wanted to make sure he did not have COVID-19. "I knew that this one was always reliable. So I came back. This is like my third or fourth time coming back to urgent care here at 79th and Euclid."
The small urgent care is a regular stop for several other Clevelanders.
"They never run out. They stay ahead of the game," one man said. "It's almost in and out."
While people were waiting to get inside, some test results were coming back. For Hayden, his test was negative. On this day, he did not have COVID-19.
"Well, I'm vaccinated," he said. "For me it's just a little frustration that you have to get these PCRs and stuff like that even with the vaccine. But I understand that there's complications - even if you are vaccinated there are the possibilities of still getting this COVID so, I'm just optimistic."