COVID testing at Bluewater Diagnostic Southeast site 12-28-21

A health care worker administers a COVID-19 test. (WDRB file photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The holidays created a major demand for COVID-19 tests, but getting one may take some effort.

Andrea Arthur, vice president of ambulatory services at Bluewater Diagnostic, said the increase in testing has "exploded."

"It's a good thing," Arthur said. "It means people are out there doing what they need to do to keep the person next to them safe." 

And Bluewater Diagnostic and many other testing sites in Kentuckiana have noticed.

"We've seen a ton of people after Christmas either they aren't feeling well or maybe had an exposure or just curious, work-related — just tons of reasons," Clark County Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel said. "So we're seeing a lot of volume right now."

Yazel and Arthur both acknowledged rapid tests in particular and in high demand, but both feel they have enough supply to get by.

The same can't be said for at-home testing supplies.

"We are seeing, I will say, a dearth of at-home testing options here within Louisville," UofL Health Chief Medical Officer Jason Smith said. 

Smith said that comes down to demand, and nationally, at-home tests are sent to where the biggest needs are at any given time.

"As these surges have taken hold, larger corporations — CVS, Walgreens, what have you — have moved those testing into areas with the highest demand for that," he said.

While there are plenty of testing sites offered, the real conundrum — particularly for testing sites taking appointments — is getting in for a test.

"We're already booked for (Tuesday). I think we have one for (Wednesday)," Yazel said. "And I think we only have five or six spots for Thursday. So it's filling up fast."

Bluewater doesn't take appointments, instead hiring more people to help meet demand. But they still encourage people to plan ahead and pre-register.

"It makes the process a lot quicker," Arthur said.

Though it may require extra planning and patience right now, providers hope those who truly need a COVID-19 test will get one.

"We want a lot of testing," Yazel said. "In fact, widespread rapid testing is probably the best way to kind of get the quickest feel for what's going on locally, help protect our most vulnerable, things like that." 

Yazel and Arthur both suspect that this high demand for testing will continue for some time. 

"Plan ahead, try to register, things like that," Yazel said. "If you can pre-register, that keeps the lines moving much quicker. And get on the state COVID-19 testing websites, and that'll show you a big long list of places that test and you can shop around and see who has availability." 

Those websites are listed below:

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