Local health care providers see influx of patients demanding COVID-19 testing

Right now, patients may experience long wait times

Where you can go to find a test and what you can do to keep your family safe

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Centra Health is just one of many health care providers in our area dealing with an influx of patients demanding COVID-19 testing.

“The system may be overwhelmed by this,” said Dr. Giuliana Allega, Centra’s executive medical director of primary and urgent care services.

Allega said that while Centra is conducting testing at all primary care offices and its three urgent care locations in Lynchburg, Farmville and Danville, patients may currently experience long wait times.

Those who should be tested are those showing COVID-19 symptoms; and if you’re unsure about your condition, then call your doctor.

“Call your primary care physician’s office for guidance if you don’t know whether or not you need a test, especially if you’re asymptomatic or very mildly symptomatic,” said Allega.

Other parts of our region continue to address the need.

It took about an hour for the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health District to pass out more than 300 kits Thursday.

The Salem Civic Center is offering testing every Tuesday.

Dr. Danny Avula with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) said the surging variants combined with holiday travel are driving the demand.

“I think it was hard to anticipate just how much the entire network, you know our pharmacies, our urgent care centers, our health departments; how much increased demand all of those individuals would see and how quickly it would come,” said Avula.

Centra said it’s working with VDH to set up testing sites in the weeks to come.

They’re asking patients to stay away from the ER.

“We definitely don’t want patients flooding the emergency rooms just for COVID-19 testing because we can perform that at our PRP, primary care provider offices, and our urgent care locations,” said Allega.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.