Long waits at COVID-19 testing sites create frustration


Photo by TheHour

There are multiple COVID-19 testing sites around Westport and they all experience the same traffic-related issues on a regular basis. Sometimes these testing sites run out of COVID tests, which creates even more backlog.

Imagine this: You’ve just discovered you were exposed to COVID-19, and you need to get tested in order to get back to your daily obligations such as work, school, sports and other things. You get up early and head over to one of the few drive through COVID testing sites in Westport, and there is already a huge line. You think to yourself that since the tests don’t take much time and people can just drive away after, that the line will shorten up quickly. However, this is not the case. 

People in Westport have had to wait in line for a COVID test for upwards of four hours at a time. Some have even waited in line for this long, only to be told that the site has run out of tests for the day. Due to a recent shortage in COVID-19 tests, situations like these have been happening more frequently.

I am very annoyed with the long lines, especially since it wastes a lot of gas and time, to maybe not even be able to get a test when you need one

— Jack Gray '23

An anonymous substitute teacher explained one reason why there might be a test shortage. 

“Think about the panic leading to shortages with toilet paper,” the teacher said. “There are a lot of factors, and it is annoying, but panic is what causes the shortages.”

Because of the rapid increase in cases of COVID-19 this winter, brought on by the Omicron variant,  more and more people are in need of a test. Being told that you can’t get a test is something that some people can’t afford to hear, especially if they came into direct contact with a person who has COVID. 

“I am very annoyed with the long lines, especially since it wastes a lot of gas and time, to maybe not even be able to get a test when you need one,” Jack Gray ʼ23 said. 

However, there are some solutions regarding the long lines. There are many ways to prevent overcrowding at various COVID testing locations, such as allowing for scheduled appointments to be made. 

“I think it’s important to keep COVID testing free and accessible, and I think there are ways people can prevent overcrowding at testing locations. Maybe testing centers could incorporate stricter appointments for tests, and allow for more appointments as well,” Sarah Toohey ʼ22 said. 

This is certainly not an easy task, but it is one that can be done with the correct organization and parameters. 

“I get the town is short on tests,” Ryan Stevenson ʼ22 said, “but they need to organize the way they distribute them better, like using online services for booking appointments to our advantage.”