PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The holiday weekend may be over, but the demand for COVID-19 testing is in full swing. People waited in long lines Monday to get a test as COVID cases continue to rise.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden held a call with the nation’s governors, discussing his plan to bring more rapid tests to states quickly.READ MORE: Mother Of Cheltenham Township Single-Car Crash Victim Speaks Out After Incident Left 1 Person Dead, 4 Others Injured: ‘It's Horrible’
Early Monday morning, lines wrapped around the building as folks in North Philadelphia patiently waited to get a COVID-19 test or vaccination. Dr. Ala Stanford and the Black Doctor’s Consortium hosted a clinic from 9 a.m. until noon, as the demand for testing is growing.
“I got here about 8:45 this morning and I came because I normally have sinus infections but I was feeling a little yucky so I figured I’d come and get tested,” North Philly resident Elenore Byars said.
Cases in Pennsylvania and throughout the tri-state area are rising exponentially, fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant. Health officials are expecting even more of a surge after the holidays.
“We have a certain number of rapid tests, over 200, and then we have several PCR tests that we planned for,” Dr. Stanford said.
President Biden spoke with a group of governor’s Monday as part of the White House COVID-19 response team’s regular call with the National Governors Association.READ MORE: Cooling Tower Malfunction Caused Fire At Center City High-Rise, Source Says
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf were present for the virtual call, with each state sharing the need for federal resources to fight the ongoing pandemic.
“My message to the governors is simple: If you need something, say something. We’re going to have your back any way we can. Last week, we took steps to bolster support for you with, number one: more capacity to get shots in arms with more places, more vaccinators, more times for folks to get vaccinated,” Biden said.
The president is also answering the call for more testing as stores and pharmacies scramble to keep rapid tests in stock. Lines around the country spiraled during the holidays, as demand far outweighed the supply.
“Seeing how tough it was for some folks to get a test this weekend shows that we have more work to do and we’re doing it. We quadrupled the number of pharmacies offering a free test and there are now more than 20,000 places where you can get tested for free,” Biden said.
The president also says his administration is ordering FEMA to set up pop-up testing sites in populated high-demand areas. He also said those with insurance will soon get reimbursed through their provider for rapid test purchases.MORE NEWS: Amtrak Forced To Reduce Service Along Northeast Corridor Due To COVID-Related Staffing Shortage
Meanwhile, Dr. Stanford says 33% of the rapid tests she took Monday were positive.