Long Lines at Mass. COVID Testing Sites Keep People Waiting for Hours

As demand remains high for COVID-19 testing in Massachusetts, a drive-thru site in Randolph stretched nearly a mile

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High demand for COVID-19 testing in Massachusetts has not stopped.

The drive-thru test site in Randolph was so backed up Monday that people had to wait hours to get a PCR test.

Monday was the busiest testing day for the city, police working at the site told NBC10 Boston.

The wait tested people's patience.

"We are here in purgatory!" exclaimed Halima Blackman.

Blackman and her mother urgently needed a PCR test. They had a death in the family and have to fly out Tuesday. They decided to take their chances at the Randolph testing center at the Joseph Zapustas Ice Arena.

There are long lines at COVID-19 testing sites across Massachusetts amid the surge in infections.

"Other sites were either closed or by appointment only, and they didn't have appointments for weeks," she noted.

Randolph's testing site does not require an appointment and is open on a first-come-first-serve basis, part of the reason why so many decide to get tested there.

"We couldn't even see the testing site when we started," said Blackman of the long testing lines.

Most people had to wait more than three hours to get tested. At one point, the line stretched for nearly a mile around the block.

By the end of the day, Randolph police said 1,450 tests were performed, the most in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

Each day that goes by without a negative PCR test, Mark Sheehan doesn't get paid.

"I tested positive for COVID last week, and they did the rapid test at home and tested negative, but I need a piece of paper so I can go back to work," he said.

But not everyone making a line Monday needed a test immediately.

"My wife tested positive, so we want to be on the safe side," said Ernest Howland.

Howland didn't expect it would take so long to get a PCR test. He also wasn't aware that he, like many Massachusetts residents, could qualify to have a free PCR test shipped to his home through the state website; an alternative for those who are willing to wait a few more days for results without having to step outside.

Even faster yet, an over-the-counter rapid COVID test will do, said Saint Vincent Hospital Chief of Medicine Dr. George Abraham.

"A negative test should be viewed in the presence of symptoms as being accurately negative, and a positive test being highly likely to be positive," he said. "You don't necessarily need a PCR confirmation."

The free at-home PCR tests ordered through could take up to a week from the time the kit is ordered until the lab posts the results.

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