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The demand for COVID tests in Philly have been well beyond the capacity to fulfill them since just before Christmas. Photo: Stock/Getty Images.
The demand for COVID tests in Philly have been well beyond the capacity to fulfill them since just before Christmas. Photo: Stock/Getty Images.

Philly expecting long COVID-19 test wait times now through New Year’s Eve

In Philly, it may be hard to get a COVID-19 test prior to New Year’s Eve, and thereafter.

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Philadelphians seeking to get tested for COVID-19 may experience extended wait times, especially from now until New Year’s Eve. 

Residents have found themselves waiting in long lines for a test, as a surge of the virus spreads and affects numerous areas from sports to healthcare. 

The weekly average — 1,780 as of Tuesday — is Philadelphia’s highest average of cases. With healthcare workers disparaged and burned out, this surge may be a particularly tough hurdle.

Extended waiting periods for tests may be a trend that continues into the New Year, and until Philly’s surge slows.

The recent record of COVID-19 infections in Philly has led to an over demand and scarcity of tests. Yet, health officials are hoping hospitalization rates will be lower when the surge hits its peak.

Death rates are lower for the recent surge, too. Health officials believe it will take until mid-January to determine the rate of hospitalizations in the region. 

Recently past holiday celebrations have been a worry for many officials. Following Thanksgiving and Winter holidays, New Year’s Eve poses a threat as residents go out on the 31st.

Philly’s Department of Public Health is offering resources for getting a COVID-19 test in the city. On their website, residents can get help locating a nearby testing site.

Some testing sites are currently accepting those interested. Available sites include Oak Street Health Primary Care, New Journey Christian Center, and the Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equity. 

Hours of operation vary between sites, so it is important to check if the site is open and operating before your visit.

Testing sites in Philly may require insurance information and or payment. This may also vary between sites, with some requiring appointments, doctor referral, and distancing in vehicles, and with some going without. 

However, the Department of Public Health claims those seeking a test will not be turned away without identification or health insurance information.

Dr. Ala Stanford stated on Dec. 27 that 33% of rapid tests administered at the Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equity that day read positive.

With rates continuing as they have been, it is a good idea to take precaution where suitable.

Residents should consider wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands, and other important measures that fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

Going forward, the city will initiate a planned policy change requiring proof of vaccination for eating and drinking inside bars and restaurants.

With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 carrying some properties unique to the strain, it is also important to consider how the variant differs. 

The CDC has an information page for the now-dominant Omicron variant.

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