Public struggles to get day-of rapid COVID-19 tests

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 7:11 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Rapid COVID-19 tests have been a challenge to find, especially if a day-of appointment is necessary.

Marathon County Health Department said it’s because of demand.

“Over the last few weeks we’ve heard the increase for testing demand is back up and it’s just because there is so much disease transmission. Right now we are at a critically high transmission level for covid,” said Aaron Ruff, Marathon County Health Department Public Information Officer.

DHS Data shows the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the North Central region is growing. Almost 93% of hospital beds in Central Wisconsin are being used. Nearly 97% of ICU beds are in use and 43% of ventilators in the region are in use.

With cases on the rise, so is the need for tests. Scott Wallace from Merrill found himself in a dilemma when he had symptoms and couldn’t find a rapid COVID-19 testing appointment available. He first checked with his local VA and then tried other options.

“I went to the Walgreens website, I went to the CVS website, it was a nightmare trying to get a 15-minute test,” said Wallace.

Only a few pharmacies still offer rapid tests because traditional PCR tests are more accurate. The Walgreens on 17th street in Wausau is one of the few that still offers 15-minute tests, but scheduling an appointment will likely be a few days out. Wallace said it was important to get tested as soon as possible because of who he was exposed to.

“My wife is a special education teacher in the Merrill school district and I have lots of friends and I would be crushed if I got them sick,” said Wallace.

To save you the hassle he said going to your county website is the best resource to find testing appointment availability.

Here is the link to the Marathon County website. DHS also has a testing site resource that can be found here.

If your looking for a rapid test UW-Stevens Point offers rapid testing to the community. Click here to sign up.

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