Cleveland’s mass COVID testing site runs smoothly after new changes made

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW) – Some people spent their Christmas Eve at the W.O. Walker building hoping for the gift of a negative COVID test.

Things were moving smoothly in University Circle at the mass COVID testing site on Friday.

“It’s been an unbelievable endeavor and the way that we’ve been able to adapt particularly to some of the challenges that we experienced earlier on with a huge desire for testing I think is nothing short of incredible,” said Dr. Robert Hughes, Emergency Medicine Specialist University Hospitals and Medical Director of the Systems Operations Center.

Tuesday’s launch of the state-run test site saw high demand leading officials to cut off the line, three hours in.

UH and the Cleveland Clinic are supporting the site.

“The traffic congestion and absolute number of human beings looking to get tested at one moment in time was indicative of what we’ve been seeing in emergency departments region-wide and really nationally,” Dr. Hughes said.

The Ohio Department of Health announced Wednesday they would be shifting to an appointment system to better serve the community. 

“We were able to find a way to build in a process whereby we can schedule folks, including folks who had registered beforehand,” said Hughes.

People paid high compliments to the efficiency of the site. 

“Perfect, I mean, real clean and easy,” said one person.

Both an appointment and QR code are needed to get the test. 

“Testing is one part of a repertoire of things that we have available to us to protect and keep us safe but bar none there is no better thing than fully vaccinated and boosted folks,” said Hughes.

Results take two to three days, so many may not know by Christmas.

“We’re going to be home. Three of the kids and my wife and I, we’re just going to be in the house and we’re going to make the best of it,” said another person in line.

Hughes says more testing sites are needed.

“While we’ve seen a dent in the emergency departments that are closer to the testing site, some of our east, west and south partners are not seeing that improvement because, frankly, they don’t necessarily have the geographic access to the testing site,” Hughes said.

But Hughes asks that people do their part this holiday season to keep the virus from spreading. 

“There are a lot of Christmases to come if we get this right, but now is not the time to be flippant with the way we get together and gather.”

Appointments for testing at the Walker Building are currently available until January 2, but they are closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Registration can be done here.

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