NewsLocal NewsCoronavirus


Rapid COVID-19 tests hard to find leading up to holiday travel

Posted at 7:54 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-25 11:08:26-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As many people are looking to get tested for coronavirus before they go on their holiday trips many are facing a big problem, being able to get one.

Yari Vargas came to the COVID-19 testing site in the Wellington municipal complex Thursday after feeling sick. Vargas said she was told to come between 8am & 5pm, but when she came –the walk ups were suspended.

“I came here and now they stopped it today entirely for walk-ups. Got to try to go to the one on military in West Palm. See if I can get a test there. All the CVS appointments are booked up,” said Vargas.

The town posted on social media that the walk-up option was suspended due to high demand now that the omicron variant is spreading. Only people who made an appointment could get tested and appointments are booked through next week.

“Just making sure we don’t get it. We have a baby at home so we have to be extra cautious,” said Jannenn Burke, who got a COVID-19 test.

Dennis and Mary Bicsak are planning to go on a cruise to Mexico on Sunday but need to get a negative COVID-19 test two days before they travel. They were able to book an appointment.

“We made an appointment ahead of time. This one is a back up plan. The requirements are we have to have it two days before. This is like three days so we’re hoping it won’t be a problem,” said Bicsak.

An estimated 110,000,000 people will travel this holiday season– nearly 30,000,000 more than last year's season. AAA says traveling is reaching at almost pre-pandemic levels.

But for those who are planning to get a rapid test for COVID-19 before they travel this weekend without making an appointment– are left in limbo like Bethania Rodriguez. Rodriguez is visiting the area from the Dominican Republic and wanted to get a rapid covid test, but was unaware the walk-up option was suspended.

“Truthfully, it's horrible as Latina and a visitor. I feel frustrated because I have to travel during a difficult time. There’s covid everywhere. I think they should be more kind and have more testing available,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said she got tested before coming to the U.S. last week but would like to get another one before she goes back on Christmas day.

“If I can't, I will try my luck in Miami to get a test. I just hope it is not the same situation that is happening here,” said Rodriguez.

Many people who made appointments waited four hours to get a rapid test.

“About a four hour wait. We came 30 minutes early and it was still a four hour wait. Then they cut the line off and unfortunately some people got kicked out,” said Paul Serito. “But I mean the rapid test for the PCR is probably only one to two hours. The other one you have to wait 48 hours. That’s the only reason we came this early.”

The best recommendation is to keep checking testing sites which you prefer to see if any openings pop up.

If you’re flying out of PBIA and need a COVID-19 test, there is one site partnered with Helix Virtual Inc. along Concourse C. They will be open Christmas Eve from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.