Triad residents are reporting long wait times at some COVID-19 testing centers amid a surge in new cases. 

Novant Health announced Wednesday that it will now encourage appointments at its drive-through testing center near Hanes Mall due to increased demand. That site saw lines up to three hours long earlier this month.

Marcus Osborne, with Novant Health, says wait times have decreased since then, but the numbers are still high.

"Since that time, we have completed nearly 5,000 tests at that location and continue to see a couple hundred patients for testing every day," said Osbourne. "We're hoping that that will moderate as things improve."

Cone Health officials say they've also seen a bump. Dr. David Thompson, the health system's assistant director of infectious disease, says demand for tests has increased by nearly 60% in the last three weeks. That's affected testing turnaround time.

“Last week, we're telling people two to three days for a result, where you know, a month ago, it was like next day," says Thompson. "As of this week, we're telling people three to four days.”

Thompson says the health system still has plenty of appointments available – it recently opened sites exclusively for pediatric testing. Appointments are available via their website.

Brenner Children's Hospital is providing tests to people under the age of 25. You can find more information here. And, Novant Health is offering testing at urgent care facilities, certain doctor's offices, and screening centers. Appointments can be made online

One place you don't want to be tested? The emergency room, Thompson says.  

“You're not going to get the result back any quicker," says Thompson. "It's the same test. And quite honestly, you're going to sit there for a very long time waiting to be tested.”

Other testing providers and a list of community testing events can be found on the state health department's website

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