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Demand for rapid testing exceeded supply leading up to Thanksgiving

Millions more virus rapid tests, but are results reported?
Posted at 5:44 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 19:17:53-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — With the surge of COVID-19 cases in Middle Tennessee, the turn-around time for COVID-19 test results at community assessment centers has been long as seven days.

Many people have started to turn to the rapid test, with results available in just 15 minutes at a lot of urgent care clinics.

It's perfect for those of us who hate to wait, but those who waited too long may be out of luck.

"We have plenty of kits, we just don’t have the medium to process them," said Mimi Gerber, a nurse practitioner at East Nashville Family Medicine.

Due to such high demand, most of the Nashville-area clinics ran out of supplies necessary to process the rapid test on site by Wednesday. Some ran out even before that. For now, most of those clinics are back to sending samples to the lab, which could take several days.

"There has been a nationwide shortage of these [rapid] kits. However, we should be getting a new shipment on Friday. We should start doing rapids again at that time," said Gerber.

Amy Windy Haggard, office manager of East Nashville Family Medicine, says this may be a sign of what's to come. She's envisioning another major run on rapid tests following Thanksgiving, and of course, in the days leading up to the December holidays.

"I feel like with all the gatherings that happen over the holidays, the demand for tests is going to be up, with flu season coming -- yea we’re prepared for it," said Haggard.

Prepared, mentally that is. As for supplies, they're at the whim of what's available.

"It’s required a lot of attention, a lot of flexibility and a lot of coordinating," said Haggard.

So what should you do if you weren't able to get a rapid test before Thanksgiving?

Gerber says if you know you were exposed to COVID-19, or are starting to feel some of the symptoms -- stay home.