GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

Hospitals, pharmacies gear up with more staff, hours to keep up with COVID-19 testing demand

Coronavirus

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — As we near the end of the holiday period, more and more people are getting tested for COVID-19, resulting in long delays, sometimes even day-long delays, for people trying to get one.

“We came because we were at a family gathering for Christmas and one [person] was very concerned that he had it, so we figured we would get ourselves covered,” one woman said.

Long lines are plaguing COVID-19 testing centers across the state.

“This week, especially, we are seeing a drastic demand in an increase for testing,” said Jill Spjecher, the Clinical Operations Team Leader for Bellin Hospital. “We’re doing anything from 1,400 to 1,600 tests per day systemwide.”

That translates to a lot of moving parts.

“We are opening up testing schedules a little more than what they had been, and then at some of our urgent care locations we are increasing staffing so we can accommodate more walk-ins,” Spjecher added.

Dr. Ashok Rai, President and CEO of Prevea Health, says if you have symptoms you should schedule testing. “If you can’t get in, look at some of the home testing options as well,” Dr. Rai explained.

Of course, it’s not just hospitals feeling the pinch, pharmacies, like CVS, say they’re feeling the demand, too.

In a statement to Local 5, CVS said:

We continue to work around the clock to provide stores with inventory of the five over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 tests we offer: Abbott BinaxNOW, Acon FlowFlex, Quidel Quickvue, Ellume, and Pixel by LabCorp. To ensure equitable access to tests both in store and digitally, we’ve added a limit of six test kits per purchase. Due to a recent surge in demand, and to retain community-based access to tests in our stores, there may be temporary out-of-stocks for these products on CVS.com. We’re committed to providing families with protection and peace of mind during the holiday season, and we continue to offer access to lab-based testing with results available in 1-2 days or rapid COVID-19 testing at more than 4,800 CVS Pharmacy locations. 

CVS Pharmacy

“You don’t want to be swabbing more people and then not getting your results back in a timely manner because you’re backed up in the lab,” Dr. Rai added.

Doctors recommend the sooner you know you have been exposed, or have symptoms, to get tested. If you can’t get in right away, isolate until you can.

“We are definitely seeing an increase in positivity [here in Wisconsin]. A lot more people are feeling symptomatic,” Spejcher said.

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