Sedgwick County addressing issue with hours-long waits for COVID-19 testing

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 9:55 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The demand for COVID-19 tests has skyrocketed this week in Sedgwick County, leading to mile-plus long lines and hours-long waits at free testing sites.

Like thousands of fellow Wichitans, M.D. Sarter waited longer than expected Wednesday to get tested for COVID-19.

“My wife is feeling some symptoms; headache, body ache, fever,” Sarter said as he patiently waited for his turn at Wichita State’s Molecular Diagnostics Lab (MDL) near the Spirit AeroSystems campus on South Oliver. When it was finally almost his turn, he was disappointed to learn the vehicle in front of him represented the last test of the night.

Local businesses could help people like Sarter avoid hours-long wait times by collecting samples for employees and their families on their own. This was an idea discussed Wednesday by Sedgwick County leaders.

“They can collect sampling at their site and transport it to the lab, which has tremendous capacity as you bring up. And we had gotten out of the habit of doing that during the lull,” Sedgwick County Manager Tom Stolz said.

Sedgwick County and WSU’s MDL are encouraging businesses with collection capacity for their employees and families to do so on their own. Stolz said on Tuesday, the lab sent out hundreds of test kits to businesses in hopes this will shorten some of the lines across the city.

The county also pointed out that some testing centers in the Wichita area aren’t meeting capacity daily, including the KDHE site at the Chester Lewis Academy Learning Center. You can find the nearest testing site to where you live on the KDHE’s website here: https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/280/COVID-19-Testing

If you own a business and would like supplies to collect testing samples for employees in need, you can register to do so here: https://www.wichita.edu/industry_and_defense/mdl/testing_partner_reg.php

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