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COVID-19 tests shortage continues as daily case numbers climb

As the winter surge continues following Christmas weekend, COVID-19 tests are becoming increasingly hard to come by in Fairfax County.

Many local testing facilities are booked until at least Thursday (Dec. 30). The shortage comes as COVID-19 cases surpass last winter’s surge.  With another 1,441 cases recorded on Christmas Day, the county is now averaging 1,124 cases a day for the past week.

“We are hearing reports that some people are having difficulty in locating tests in Fairfax County,” a spokesperson for the county’s health department told FFXnow.

Testing demand appears to be unparalleled in the county as the emergence of the omicron variant fuels daily caseload increases.

Most testing sites that are part of national chains are fully booked until next week. CVS Pharmacy — which offers a variety of testing options — is booked at its Herndon, Leesburg, and Ashburn locations until next Thursday (Jan. 6). The Vienna location is booked through Saturday, Jan. 8.

My Dr. Pharmacy in Herndon is offering PCR tests for $150, with results released within one day of testing. But the earliest slot isn’t available until late Thursday afternoon.

High demand prompted Walgreens to recently take down its registration page.

“We are currently using a virtual waiting room as a result of exceptional demand and to give you the best possible online experience,” the landing page stated.

The page now appears to be back up, but as of this morning (Tuesday), all stores in Fairfax County have been fully booked, with the nearest availabilities in Arlington and Ashburn.

Inova Health Systems is urging residents to seek out a community testing site or home test kit instead of getting tested for COVID-19 at the emergency room.

“Inova Emergency Departments are prioritizing patients with medical conditions requiring emergency care and those with critical illness. We strongly discourage patients who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms from coming to ER,” INOVA Health tweeted yesterday (Monday) afternoon.

Efforts to set up a community testing site are underway.

County public health officials are encouraging residents to seek out multiple testing options, including clinics, kiosks urgent care facilities, and drive-through sites. The Virginia Department of Health offers an online portal to find testing sites in the state.

The shortage has prompted many residents to purchase tests online.

Strains are being felt nationwide. President Joe Biden lamented the testing shortage yesterday, as omicron and holiday travel resulted in long lines at some testing facilities.

Biden noted that his administration aims to increase testing availability with new federal testing sites and the purchase of 500 million at-home rapid coronavirus tests, which will be delivered to residences beginning in January.

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