As thousands of Delawareans flocked to COVID-19 testing sites before the Thanksgiving holiday, Walgreens has moved to a reservation-only system.
Over the past week, more than 47,000 tests were completed, officials said, more than were conducted at any point during the pandemic. Community pop-up testing site visits increased by 40 percent in the last 10 days, which has led to increased wait times in some cases. While on-site staff are doing their best to accommodate walk-ins in addition to those with reservations, there may be situations when walk-ins must be turned away, officials said. Community sites operated through Walgreens and the Division of Public Health clinics have also seen increased volume over the past several days.
“We want everyone to practice patience,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health, during a Nov. 24 press conference.
Delaware Emergency Management Agency Director A.J. Schall said Curative testing sites have been averaging over 7,000 tests a day, but Nov. 23, he said, there were more than 13,000 tests. “Seven thousand was just a wow moment last week, and then yesterday we blew it out of the water,” he said. “It’s going into overdrive as we’re going into the holidays.”
Because of the increased testing demand, officials said, test result turnaround times may be longer. The public is urged to remain patient as laboratories work to process tests as fast as possible. In addition, the high number of positive cases reported may also lead to a delay in positive individuals and their contacts receiving calls from the DPH contact tracing team. Individuals who test positive are advised to immediately self-isolate for at least 10 days from the date symptoms started (or the date of the test for those who do not have symptoms), and contact anyone with whom they had direct contact during the 48 hours prior to symptom onset or test date.
Members of the public seeking testing this week are highly encouraged to check the state’s testing webpage, de.gov/gettested, as testing locations and hours are limited this Wednesday and Thursday.
Walgreens test sites
To best serve patients and to help eliminate traffic issues near Walgreens testing sites arising from increased testing volume, all Walgreens Pharmacy testing sites will move to a reservation-based system beginning Friday, Nov. 27. Testing sites will remain accessible via the drive-through except for the Lancaster Pike location in Wilmington, which remains an indoor site. All sites will operate by appointment only. As a reminder, all Walgreens test sites close for 30 minutes daily to allow a lunch break for staff. To reserve an appointment, visit https://www.picktime.com/DECOVID19test.
To help meet the increased testing demand this holiday season, the State of Delaware will expand its partnership with Walgreens and add five new sites across the state beginning Tuesday, Dec. 1. The new testing sites in Kent and Sussex counties include:
- 17248 S. DuPont Hwy., Harrington, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday
- 2 College Park Lane, Georgetown, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday
- 38627 Benro Drive 1, Delmar, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday
- 32979 Coastal Hwy, Bethany Beach, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
These new sites are in addition to nine testing sites operated by Walgreens, as well as 11 other permanent testing sites – five state service center sites and six public health clinics – available throughout the state. Pop-up community testing sites continue to be offered each week. The full list of testing locations, hours, and registration options is available on Delaware’s COVID-19 website at de.gov/gettested.