Long Lines Keep People Waiting for Pre-Christmas COVID Testing

Many people are looking to get tested for coronavirus before the holiday, leading to long wait times

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From textbooks to coloring books to takeout, people tried to keep busy while waiting in line for hours for a COVID-19 test Tuesday.

"The lines are a little bit ridiculous," said Felix Rocha. "I'm coming out here because it's before the holidays, and my family, we're adamant about getting tested and making sure everybody's COVID-free before gathering, just to be safe."

That was a common sentiment at a testing site in Saugus. People say they want to be safe ahead of the holiday.

"Getting together with the family for Christmas," said Marion Attubato. "And most of them have been tested, so I thought maybe I better get tested, too."

Many in line were frustrated by the long wait, but they say sites that take appointments are booked up.

"If you're going to travel, then getting tested is the right thing to do," said Dr. David Rosman, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society. "Ultimately, though, the real news is we shouldn't be traveling."

Rosman says while the state is doing well in terms of per capita testing, there are still limited resources.

"Could we be doing better, should we be doing better? Sure. How does that happen? We need more federal dollars," he said.

Dr. David Hamer of Boston University's School of Public Health says while testing capacity and turnaround time for results have both greatly improved, some testing sites are more efficient than others, and there's room for improvement system-wide.

"We may need more testing centers, and the testing centers that are really congested need to think through the logistics of flow," Hamer said.

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