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Northeast Wisconsin hospitals, pharmacies see increase in Covid testing volume prior to holiday

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Posted at 9:56 PM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 23:10:08-05

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — Before they head to grandma's house for the holidays, many travelers want to make sure they aren't sick.

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"The month of December, we definitely saw an increase in testing," Bellin Health Clinical Operations Team Leader Jill Spejcher said. "But this last week is a significant increase."

Leading up to the Christmas holiday weekend, Northeast Wisconsin pharmacies and hospital systems are distributing an influx of Covid-19 tests.

Covid testing

"We're anywhere from 425 to 450 tests per day just at the drive-thru site," Spejcher said. "And that doesn't include any of the testing that we're doing in our clinics and within our urgent care centers."

Bellin Health says the current testing rate is around 50 percent higher this week compared to the summer.

"We saw the aftermath of Thanksgiving," Spejcher said. "We had quite a bit of a spike. A lot of people had minor symptoms or no symptoms and then they infected the entire family."

At home covid test
Ariel Kahana, 10, shows her COVID-19 Antigen test result, ahead of the first day of school, at her home in Moshav Talmey Yafe, Israel, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Now some are taking extra precautions. Hometown Pharmacy in De Pere just sold out of at-home testing kits.

"I think we sold... probably a couple hundred of them, [so] everything we had in stock," owner and manager Sarah Bowker said. "So lots of people were looking."

Amid a season of respiratory infections, the pharmacy is also administering an uptick in PCR Covid tests over the last two weeks. Those results are usually ready in a couple days.

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Leading up to the Christmas holiday weekend, Northeast Wisconsin pharmacies and hospital systems are distributing an influx of Covid-19 tests.

"With the holiday coming, people traveling, kids coming home from school, everyone wants to make sure they're not bringing Covid anywhere they shouldn't be," Bowker said.

Hospitals like Bellin are busy before Christmas. But they say there's still room to book an appointment.

"Our hospitals are full and our staff are really tired, but we keep moving forward and trying to do our part," Spejcher said.