NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Only a handful of COVID testing sites were available in Nashville this Monday and that meant lines out the door in some places.
Frustrating was about as nice as they could put it. While the longest wait in line was about 45 minutes, it was still another wait.
Metro’s drive-thru testing sites were not open, so many had to drive around before they finally landed at the Vanderbilt Health site south of Nashville.
Mary Hutchinson was on her third location by the time we caught up with her in line. Moments later we met Amanda Wilson who drove 40 minutes to the closest place she could find. At-home COVID tests are almost non-existent from what they tell us, so many were left standing in line with other people who also don’t feel well.
“It makes you want to cry. You feel bad and you just can’t get in anywhere. It’s like what are you supposed to do,” Wilson said.
357 people were tested in the four hours this Vanderbilt location was open. For perspective, that’s about half of the average number of tests Vanderbilt runs for all their local sites.
Nurse practitioner Bethany Wagner coordinates testing at another site through Vanderbilt clinics and says they’ve seen a surge in patients since Thanksgiving.
She says not only are vaccinated people testing positive more now than before, but they’re almost all omicron variant cases.
“I wouldn’t say the illness itself is more severe, but we are seeing more vaccinated patients,” Wagner said.
Warner understands that people want to know their status, but she recommends taking at least two days to quarantine before you get tested.
“If you rush in the first day of symptoms, sometimes we end up having to see you in a few days again and it’s almost a better option to wait if you’re not too sick. Treat your symptoms over the counter like you would any other time. Isolate yourself. You don’t want to get others sick. Give your symptoms time before you rush into the clinic,” Wagner said.
So before you make the trip, ask yourself. Would I be better off waiting at home or are these symptoms that can’t wait?
Last week, President Joe Biden announced his administration would purchase more than 500 million free at-home COVID tests. They're working on a website where you can sign up to have these tests delivered to your home. It's not clear how many tests are limited per household.
Metro’s drive-thru sites will re-open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon. One site is located on 2491 Murfreesboro Pike and the other is at 28th Ave. and Charlotte Ave. Each site also offers vaccines. These sites will be closed on Friday for New Year’s Eve.