COVINGTON, Ky. — For many in the Tri-State, it was another day, another scramble to find COVID-19 tests.
The rush comes following the latest COVID-19 numbers that shows the highest number of COVID-related hospitalizations since the pandemic began.
At the largest testing site in Northern Kentucky, Gravity Diagnostic's drive-thru opened at 6 a.m. Staff said they expect to be packed all day Saturday.
The site was closed Friday because of the Level One snow emergency. People still lined up before going to work, before realizing the site was closed because of the weather.
Since the site was closed, staff said it created a backlog of people needing tests.
In addition to its Covington test site, the company is opening its Florence Mall testing site Saturday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
There was other options for people if they were looking for vaccines or tests. The Nepali Language and Arts Center worked with the Colerain Fire Department and offered free COVID-19 vaccines, boosters and tests Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Walk-ins were welcomed and no appointments were needed.
In addition to the high demand Gravity Diagnostic has seen, at-home tests still prove difficult to find.
Just this week, Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Keserman urged people to hold off on using what at-home tests they have until they are really sick or wait until a few days after a true exposure.
The Ohio Department of Health is expected to distribute one million at-home tests this month to local health departments, but those are not out yet.
Hospital leaders say the strain is adding to local hospitals that are already over capacity.
"Yesterday, more than 6,500 people were hospitalized in Ohio as an inpatient with Covid-19 and more than 1,300 were in the ICU. One in three patients who are hospitalized in Ohio or in an ICU are COVID positive, that's one in three. And sadly as I noted, the vast majority of these patients are unvaccinated," said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of Ohio Department of Health.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced this week that the national guard would be opening at testing facility in Cincinnati to ease the burden on local hospitals.
Similar setups were opened in Cleveland, Akron and Columbus, but there is no word yet on when or where the Cincinnati site will be.
Hospital leaders hope to start seeing the relief next week.