COVID Tests Overwhelm Grand Island Central District Health Department Site | Grand Island Local News
Demand for COVID tests has peaked with lines of cars, dozens deep, waiting at the Central District Health Department’s Nomi testing site.
On Tuesday, more than 400 tests were administered at the site, said Teresa Anderson, director of the Central District Health Department. She said several blocks of cars had to be turned away on Monday. “They need to close at three to get PCR tests to Lincoln Airport, so there’s no way to extend those hours at this time.”
As a result, Nomi, the healthcare company that administers the tests, has decided that drive-through testing should be done by appointment rather than by request.
Anderson said the situation is not necessarily exclusive to CDHD’s coverage area. “We are seeing an increase in cases after the holidays, so people are coming to get tested, sometimes not checking in until they arrive, which is something we could do a few weeks ago. Now that every appointment is booked, people need to register before they get here or they won’t be seen.
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On Grand Island, the situation was exacerbated by severe weather last Friday, as extremely cold temperatures forced Nomi to temporarily halt its drive-through testing.
“It was crazy here. I came (Saturday) to get a quick test for me. There were so many people trying to get tested – and we want them to get tested, obviously,” Anderson said. “We are working with Nomi on how they can expand their capacity to meet increased demand.”
Staff shortages have also affected Nomi’s efforts. Anderson said that because Nomi only had three employees available on Wednesday, CDHD offered some of its employees to help with the swabbing.
“The omicron variant has significantly increased demand. There just aren’t enough hours or staff to do the number of tests that need to be done,” Anderson said.
Until further notice, people wishing to get tested for COVID can make an appointment on the CDHD website: https://cdhd.ne.gov/covid-19/testing.html.
The site offers rapid antigen (1 hour results) and PCR (24-36 hour results) tests from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday in the CDHD parking lot at 1137 South Locust St.
Jessica Votipka is an education reporter at the Grand Island Independent. She can be reached at 308-381-5420.