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Increasing number of people are testing for Covid-19 across Arkansas as we approach the holiday season



Arkansas – More and more people are waiting in lines to test for Covid-19 recently. This is the case in almost every single state across the country and the same applies for Arkansas.

The rising number of cases in the last couple of weeks since Thanksgiving and the fact that we are approaching the holiday season made many people to test again for Covid-19 causing long lines in some cases across Arkansas.

One of the testing sites that sees increasing number of testing requests is the Natural State Laboratories COVID-19 drive thru testing site.

“Me and my sister just came in from New York City and we’re here to visit our family,” Una Osato said.

The most alarming thing lately is the Omicron variant. According to recent data, majority of the new cases across several states are Omicron variant cases and health experts believe that by January Omicron will become the major variant in regards to new Covid-19 cases across the country.

Osato comes from a city setting records for a COVID-19 spike.

“The omicron variant, we know so many people who are newly infected. Testing is really important, so first thing we did after we got off the plane was come here and get tested,” Osato said.

Dustin Schandevel is the director of the drive thru testing site. He says that they are seeing record number of testing requests in months. That said, on Tuesday they made 93 Covid-19 tests. He added that most of the cases in the last couple of days are symptomatic patients.

However, the current numbers are by far lower compared to he same period last year when hundreds were testing ahead of the holidays.

“I think it was a lot more uneasiness too last year. A lot more unknown whereas this year everyone has kind of been through it. Everyone’s had COVID or been exposed to it. Everyone has more of a better understanding and with the vaccine there is a little bit more safety,” Schandevel said.

With the Omicron variant in place, health experts advise people to get vaccinated ahead of the holidays. However, those who will still remain vaccine hesitant, are strongly encouraged to test themselves before the family gatherings.

For more details about the current Covid-19 situation in Arkansas, additional data and vaccine sites, please visit Arkansas Department of Health’s website.