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Virginia Beach aims to triple usual number of COVID-19 tests next week

Virginia Beach aims to triple usual number of COVID-19 tests next week

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — All day Friday, people showed up at the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health to get tested for COVID-19.

Some said they thought we needed more test sites. Some have waited two weeks to be tested. This is by appointment only. Some people who showed up for tests have had COVID-19 and came for a test to see if they were now negative.

People tested Friday at the Virginia Beach clinic are expected to get results in about three to five days.

Frenette Thomas came to the ward on Friday with her son in a child seat.

“This is my second time getting tested. I had to go to North Carolina for my first test because I couldn’t get one here in Virginia. They told me they were out of test kits. They told me to try and get me in two weeks or else I would have to pay for a test,” she said.

Dottie Norman showed up because she heard about the test site on WAVY-TV Thursday night.

“It was on Channel 10. It was Anita Blanton. She said it would be available and not many people got through the lines,” she said.

And that started Norman and her life partner Tim Berkhimer’s trek to get COVID-19 tested in Virginia Beach.

“I drove by here this morning around 9am and they told me to come back at 1am” [p.m.],” she said.

Standing in line would take much longer than the test. It was fast, but dazzling and uncomfortable. It’s done in a snap.

The couple said they were frustrated that it took so long to get this COVID-19 test.

“We both had COVID-19. I couldn’t stay at home and wanted to leave. It drove me crazy. I couldn’t get COVID tests,” she said.

dr. Caitlin Pedati, Virginia Beach’s new public health director, said making appointments online is the place to start — and they’re working to increase the number of tests they do each day.

“We want people to know that we make appointments with the health department via the website. Follow the link. We are trying to do 100 COVID-19 tests per day and hope to increase that to 300 per day next week,” said Pedati.

On Friday, they took 77 tests.

Pedati says the trend in Virginia Beach is going in the wrong direction.

“Unfortunately, like many places, we have seen significant virus activity here in Virginia Beach in recent weeks. And that’s what happens in winter… So the most important thing we can do is get vaccinated and boost. We have great vaccines that are safe and work very well. We want people to benefit from that,” she says.

It seems common sense, but after nearly two years of living with COVID-19, we are still here. Pedati reminds everyone.

“Wear masks, safe distance, stay home if you are sick,” she said.

Norman also had this shout-out to the COVID-19 test crew.

“Thanks to them. They are wonderful. Get the people vaccinated and boosted whatever you need to do whatever it takes to stop this mess,” Norman said.

Virginians who are not fully vaccinated or who are eligible for booster doses may visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (877) 829-4682 to locate nearby vaccination clinics.

Those who want to find or schedule a test appointment can visit vase.vdh.virginia.gov/testingafspraak.