Rush for holiday testing increases wait times at Bragg COVID-19 test site

Posted at 7:34 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 19:34:52-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — COVID-19 testing administrators are concerned ahead of holiday travel.

For the second day in a row, more than 2,400 people showed up to Bragg Memorial Stadium for Coronavirus testing. People like Danae Pickard are heading home to be with family during a year that's been exceptionally tough.

"Usually for holidays I'm here in Tallahassee working, so this is like the first time in a while when I'm actually spending holidays with my family," said Pickard.

But before she can make the trip, her mother said she and any of her friends traveling with her need a negative COVID-19 test.

"She is a Caribbean mother so you know, she is really strict about making sure that I get tested and everything is good before I come and bring anybody with me," Pickard said. "Because again, I have siblings, they have little children, I have nieces and nephews that are young, so she just wants everybody to be as safe as possible before they come for the holidays."

It's her sixth time getting tested at the Bragg Memorial site, but this time the wait was a bit longer than usual.

Florida A&M University Health Services Coordinator Tanya Tatum said Monday's numbers were the highest she thinks she's seen since the site opened, with Tuesday's totals not far behind.

"We did probably about 200 more individuals," said Tatum. "Because we were seeing numbers around 2,200 around Thanksgiving: 21- and 2,200. And now we have 2,400 and then 2,500 tests. It is a bit of a jump."

And while the wait is a bit longer this time around, Pickard said it's worth it to keep her loved ones safe.

"You have to be considerate, especially around the holidays," she said.

The site will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

If you have to get tested during that time, you can visit Patient's First on Appleyard Drive on Christmas Eve. It is by appointment only and isn't free.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering