GREENSBORO, N.C. — Lines outside of the Guilford County Department of Public Health backed up traffic on East Wendover Avenue Tuesday evening. It was a result of a huge demand for COVID-19 testing.
It has been a similar scene across the Triad with wait times taking hours at some places. This has been going on for weeks since the holiday season started.
At Triad Behavioral Resources, the director and owner, Paul Fribush, said they’ve temporarily run out of PCR tests — which are the free saliva-based tests that provide results in a few days.
They’re waiting on another shipment.
“The kits that you use for the saliva test have become scarce,” Fribush said.
It’s not only that, as COVID cases continue to reach record numbers in North Carolina, the results they’re seeing lately have changed too.
“We’re also seeing a really high positivity rate return,” Fribush said.
Triad Behavioral Resources is a substance abuse and counseling center that repurposed itself once the pandemic hit.
“When things started shutting down I knew that there would be a need for our testing services,” Fribush said.
He said testing lines started picking up again about a week before Thanksgiving. So much so that they ran out of their saliva-based PCR tests. His facility now offers rapid tests which costs about $130. Fribush said that money can be refundable by your insurer.
But a lot of people want free and affordable testing now.
Tuesday, state leaders said an effort is being made on that front too.
“We have about 300 sites over the next couple of weeks where you can get free testing,” said Mandy Cohen, NCDHHS secretary.
While hospital leaders in the Triad tell FOX8, they don’t foresee running out of COVID tests, they are seemingly harder to come by without an appointment — which could take days in some cases.
Many Walgreens and CVS locations in the Triad have been booked for free appointments or showing unavailability.
Meanwhile, Fribush and his transformed staff of counselors are bracing themselves for the testing lines they’ll be responsible for after people gather for the holidays.
“We will hire what people we need. We’re trying to stock up on all our supplies, on all our kits so we don’t run out,” he said. “I am fearful of that. It’s been a very difficult year and we want to be with our families, but that is not going to be helpful at this stage. There’s always next year.”
Fribush hopes to have more PCR tests by the end of the week.
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