Thousands wait for COVID-19 test results ahead of Thanksgiving

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- From West Philadelphia to Wilmington, Delaware, the lines to get tested for COVID-19 were long on Monday.

"It's like everybody in Wilmington here," laughed Stephanie Bullock of Wilmington.

As Thanksgiving approaches, some people said they want to get tested beforehand. They're still going to travel, despite warnings from the CDC.

"If you were tested in two days, you may be positive at that point and you may develop symptoms at that point and so it's not a guarantee that being negative right now means you'll be negative on Thanksgiving," said Dr. Sage Myers, the medical director of emergency preparedness at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Quest Diagnostics, which runs one of the largest labs, reports that orders for COVID-19 molecular testing have increased by 50% compared to the last week of September. A spokesperson says the wave of COVID-19 cases is driving demand, pushing the turnaround time to a little more than two days.

"There's obviously a correlation with the increase in demand with the wave that we're seeing as well as people who are concerned about potentially exposing family members for Thanksgiving," said Victor Shugart, chief operations officer for Philly Fighting COVID, a non-profit that operates mobile testing units around the state.

Shugart said it's possible people won't receive results in time for Thanksgiving.

"Unfortunately that's just the nature of the volume that we're dealing with," said Shugart.

At Frawley Stadium, one of the multiple testing sites in Delaware, thousands of people from in and out of state waited in line Monday afternoon to drive up and do an oral swab.

"It's a community service and I feel very blessed to be part of that process, in that we're doing such a public service for the community and I think New Castle County is really doing an excellent job of spearheading what the role model should be for the entire country," said Lin Schrack, New Castle County COVID site testing manager.
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