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Long lines at COVID-19 testing sites in Shelby County

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 4:35 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 soaring, demand for testing is also going up.

But you may have to wait in a long line following the holiday weekend, and you may not have much luck finding a rapid at-home test.

On paper, COVID-19 testing is more available than ever before.

But the reality is many people looking to get a COVID-19 test right now will have to wait due to surging demand.

Shelby County COVID-19 testing sites reopened Monday after the Christmas holiday break.

A long line of cars formed outside Poplar Healthcare on Hacks Cross Road, with people hoping to get tested.

We’ve seen similar scenes at testing sites across the country, as the holidays bring people together and infections from the omicron variant soar.

On Monday, President Biden met with some of the nation’s governors, including Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, to talk about the White House COVID-19 response.

“Seeing how tough it was for some folks to get a test this weekend shows that we have more work to do, and we’re doing it,” said Biden.

Hutchinson told President Biden one of the biggest challenges in his state is access to rapid COVID-19 tests.

“We also as governors are getting pressure to do more and the need is great to do more in terms of rapid tests and the availability of it,” said Hutchinson.

Biden says help is on the way.

“We have to do more. We have to do better. And we will,” said Biden.

The president’s plan includes sending free at-home rapid tests to any American who wants one.

But they’re not expected to be sent out until sometime in January.

Meanwhile, the CDC updated its recommendations Monday in light of omicron’s rapid transmission.

The agency now says anyone exposed to the virus should get tested at day 5 following the exposure.

Anyone who shows symptoms should immediately quarantine until receiving a negative test.

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