COVID-19 tests elusive, with Kansas City residents lined up for appointments, walk-ins

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The market for COVID-19 tests is extremely competitive, especially after the holiday season.

Appointments for same-day testing remain elusive while walk-in centers were slammed on the first Monday of the new year.

But those tests are already showing the climbing case totals going into 2022.

Oak Ridge Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kansas, is now hosting a large “pop-up” testing location organized by Vibrant Health.

Vibrant Health did its pre-holiday testing at a much smaller location. Still, the healthcare system did about 650 tests in just three days leading up to New Year’s Eve. About 1 in 4 of those tests came back positive.

Now organizers are using the church’s space to accommodate the growing demand. Nasal swabs were near-continuous at the free testing pop-up that, for the majority of the day, had a line 50-75 people long.

“What we are seeing after the holidays is that it’s limited options for walk-in, appointments are filling up fast, and lots of people are needing to be tested,” Vibrant Health President & CEO Patrick Sallee said.

The line had a muted feeling of anxiety brought on after in-person family events.

“My son got tested, and he’s got the COVID. So we spent the holidays together, so we thought we’d get tested, too,” said Ronald Smith, who live in Kansas City, Kansas.

The event’s intended purpose is to serve an under-served region, targeting communities with higher Black and Latino populations that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

“Caucasian Americans are much more likely to work in jobs that they can work from home. So as a percentage, it’s a way smaller percentage of African-Americans, Hispanic and Latino adults working jobs from home,” Sallee said.

“So then it puts them at a greater risk of coming into contact with the virus at their essential place of business,” Sallee said.

But the line at the church was diverse with many people coming in from outside of Wyandotte County for the free available tests.

Smith shared his own concerns as a lifelong resident of Kansas City, Kansas.

“Well my granddaughter, she had a pretty bad case of it,” Smith said.

She’s a 20-year-old KU student, he added.

“We thought we’d get affected before she would, being older and all. But it don’t always work out that way,” Smith said.

The pop-up testing facility at Oak Ridge Baptist Church, which is located at 9301 Parallel Parkway, KCK, will last for two weeks:

  • Jan. 3 — 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 4 — 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 5 — 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 6 — 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Jan. 10 — 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 11 — 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 12 — 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 13 — 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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