RHHD will expand COVID-19 testing events starting next month

Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 4:12 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 20, 2021 at 6:34 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Demand for COVID-19 testing is picking back up in the metro-Richmond area. Health officials say it’s a sign of worry over the omicron variant and folks gathering indoors over the winter months.

“We’re definitely seeing a demand more for the at-home tests. We are also seeing an increase in our community testing events, which is a PCR test,” said Jessica Coughlin, Henrico Co. Health District Emergency Manager.

Places like Patient First and other private providers say more and more people are showing up asking for a COVID-19 test.

Richmond - Henrico Health Districts also reports a higher demand for more at-home COVID-19 test kits.

Currently, RHHD holds two free COVID-19 testing events in the mornings each week. But come to the new year, RHHD officials say they will offer clinics four days a week with varied hours.

“So increasing that testing, increasing the hours of it and changing the hours to accommodate folks who are either working or have childcare issues, so we definitely are trying to meet that demand with the variant now in Virginia,” said Coughlin.

Across the state, COVID-19 testing is up, much like the state’s percent positivity rate.

“Some providers are reporting that they’re having a little trouble stacking the antigen tests, even those that are for professional use, so we’re just doing our best. I mean, VDH is definitely knocking down all the doors, trying to diversify our testing portfolio of products that we seek,” said Dr. Laurie Forlano, VDH Deputy Commissioner for Population Health.

Aside from local health clinics, you can get a COVID-19 test from your local library. But in Richmond, the library staff says they run out just as quickly as they get a shipment, and the shipments vary.

“There’s still PCR testing readily available. Of course, it’s not as quick turnaround time, but obviously, it’s the gold standard and fairly available through health care providers,” said Dr. Forlano.

The testing is helping in other ways too. RHHD says it had a reported flu case from COVID-19 testing last week.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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