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Central Texans face long lines as COVID cases surge in testing shortage

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 19:48:59-05

Had any luck getting tested for COVID lately?

If you went to official testing sites, chances are you waited for hours.

The Bell County Health District is currently reporting nearly 3,800 active COVID cases and that doesn’t include unreported or at-home tests.

With the spread of the Omicron variant, testing sites like the one at that Killeen Special Events center are running out of tests daily.

”The plan was to do 500 per site per day. So, that could last an entire day 3 weeks ago, where it is only lasting until 3 or 4 p.m. this week,” said Chief James Kubinski of the Killeen Fire Department.

As the lines get longer, so does the wait time no matter if it is a city-run testing site or one operated by a private pharmacy like the one Grand Avenue Pharmacy is running off Stan Schlueter Loop in Killeen.

”We’re open from 8 to 5 and the lines, the wait time varies. It could be 2 hours, or it could be 3 hours, but it varies, and we are trying to get people out as fast as we can.” said Martez Young, Grand Avenue Pharmacy Employee.

People aren’t just standing in line because they think they might have COVID, they are also getting tested for work, travel, or other reasons.

”Well, I've already gotten all my shots plus my booster and I'm getting ready to take a trip to Africa. So, I just came for my peace and everybody else's peace and to be safe, that’s all," said Theophilus Sipley, who was getting tested before traveling to visit family in West Africa.

Being from West Africa, Sipley was more than happy to wait in line for a COVID test.

”There are people in other countries wishing they could do this right here. They can’t. So, for anyone listening, I suggest you give yourself like an hour, come out here and get tested, or just get the shot,” said Sipley.

While Sipley only waited an hour to get tested, others are waiting for several.

”Omicron has caused people to be more concerned and with more concern comes more demand,” said Chief Kubinski.