COVID-19 testing takes all day for Utah woman as state enacts changes over wait-time issue

Jan 10, 2022, 11:21 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:23 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — As recently as this weekend, health officials cautioned of wait times of up to four hours at state-operated and sponsored testing sites amid a COVID-19 surge that has averaged roughly 8,000 new cases per day.

At the Maverik Center on Monday, four hours would have seemed relatively short.

Hannah St. Clair said she arrived around 9:15 a.m. and she wasn’t tested until just before 5 p.m.

“I would say (it was) at least 7, if not 8 hours at this point,” St. Clair said, speaking with a KSL-TV crew by phone at 5 p.m.

She was still in the parking lot.

“It’s insane, and people have been driving by and taking photos of us all day,” she chuckled. “It’s crazy.”

St. Clair showed up to be tested after coming down with multiple hallmark COVID-19 symptoms over the weekend, including a sore throat, congestion, fever and body aches.

She said she was glad she had food and water with her when she arrived and had luckily staved off a trip to the restroom.

“It’s just really frustrating that by now — this far into the pandemic — we haven’t figured this part out yet,” St. Clair said.

Health officials acknowledged demand for testing has been “huge,” with no signs of letting up, and on Friday, they announced multiple changes aimed at improving wait times.

Utah Dept. of Health adjusts testing site protocols after locations swamped by demand

Among them were shifting staff to busier locations, while moving to appointment-only testing at others. They also announced state-operated testing sites would no longer offer testing to those seeking it for work or to attend events.

A spokesperson said Monday evening the state was doing “everything we can to shorten those lines.”

St. Clair, after her “9 to 5” experience in her car, questioned if there wasn’t still more that could be done to handle the massive testing load.

“This is bad. This is a lot of people here spending their entire day waiting in line,” St. Clair said. “I’m just looking forward to not being in a car.”

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COVID-19 testing takes all day for Utah woman as state enacts changes over wait-time issue