CLEVELAND (WJW) – The demand for COVID testing across Northeast Ohio remains high after the Christmas holiday.
“I don’t think you could make enough test kits right now and flood the market and it still would not be able to meet the demand that we have and that’s throughout the entire state,” said Lorain County Health Commissioner Mark Adams.
He says their phones have been ringing off the hook.
“I tested positive, what do I do now?’ ‘I would like to find a test, where do I go?’ And the third one was, ‘Can I just walk in and get a vaccine?’ We may have fielded 300 phone calls in the first four hours,” said Adams.
Geauga County’s Health Department posted on Facebook Monday that, due to a limited amount of tests kits provided by ODH, they will only be able to give out a small amount.
Lorain’s commissioner says kits are also scarce for them, but they did get a shipment of roughly 600 tests Monday that will be distributed to their community partners. He says they’re trying to focus supply as much as possible on those who are symptomatic.
“What we definitely don’t have enough supply of is testing to make sure I’m safe for the holiday, that just doesn’t exist anywhere in the state. ‘Hey, I wanna go see my parents, can I get tested?’ Listen, that doesn’t exist. We’ve got to hold off on that. There just aren’t enough test kits available,” Adams said.
He also said their libraries are all out and waiting on their shipments to come in.
The rush for demand was clear when the W.O. Walker mass drive-through testing site opened in University Circle last week. Monday afternoon, all future time slots were filled.
Summit County is getting its own mass drive-through testing site Tuesday, partnering with the National Guard and area hospitals.
“They’ve shared with us everything they thought could be improved and one of those was that congestion and to try to really get the number of appointments succinct and to get a number of people who should be showing up,” said Health Commissioner Donna Skoda.
They will be able to serve about 300 a day, due to lab capacity and staffing.
“The guard is coming in as the testers so they’ll do all the testing, packaging of the specimens, but then the hospitals, the National Guard, Summit County Public Health, we all had to have additional staff to bring to the table,” Skoda said.
Summit got a delivery Monday of somewhere from 4,000 to 5,000 home test kits, but don’t expect those to last long.
“I can tell you, it’s like Grand Central Station here again. And so yeah, they fly off the shelves when they’re here,” Skoda said.
Lorain County says they are working on pooling testing kits to set up a drive-thru testing site through a partnership with Lorain County Health and Dentistry. That is still in the beginning stages.