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Demand for COVID-19 tests overwhelming some testing sites

Demand for COVID-19 tests overwhelming some testing sites

As COVID-19 cases surge, the demand for tests is growing. It’s so high, in fact, that people are willing to wait hours to get a test.

Bluewater Diagnostic Lab is running multiple test sites in Louisville. Its most popular site is Southeast Christian Church off Blankenbaker Parkway.

“We had over a four-and-a-half hour wait a week and a half ago, and we just decided that’s just not going to be feasible,” said Dina English with Bluewater Diagnostic Laboratory.

The company said it is testing 600-700 people a day at Southeast Christian. To help with wait times, Bluewater moved to a voucher system and is giving people a pass to come back at a later time. The problem now is that the vouchers are running out shortly after the testing site opens at 9 a.m.

“We have people that are coming at 6 a.m. to get in line, which creates an issue for Southeast, who’s been so kind to let us borrow their space,” English said.

The lines have gotten so long that starting Thursday, law enforcement will be called in to ease traffic issues.

“We’ll have a police officer who will be escorting those people through the parking lot, because they can’t be sitting and waiting on us to get there to provide the vouchers,” English said. “We begin handing out the vouchers around 9 o’clock, and once they’re gone, they’re gone.”

U of L Health and Norton Healthcare are also seeing an increase in demand. U of L tested more than 10,000 people in October, and it expects November’s number to be even higher. At Norton, about 600 people a day are being tested at two drive-thru sites, and it is creating more appointment times to help.

“We’re trying to respond and open up as much testing as we have capabilities of performing, and we’re doing that right now six days week,” said Sam Zuege, who works at Norton Healthcare’s testing sites.

You have to make an appointment to get a COVID-19 test through Norton Healthcare and U of L Health. You do not need an appointment to get a test run by Bluewater Diagnostic Lab.

Bluewater said it is looking to hire more people to help at testing sites. Health care experience is preferred.

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