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Getting a COVID-19 test | 11Alive reporter shares experience waiting in long line

'It took exactly two hours from when I got in line until when I got tested.'

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Many Georgians have complained about long wait times for getting a COVID-19 test and delays for receiving their results.

Several counties in the metro area have told us they've seen an increase in demand for testing over the past two weeks. 

11Alive's Kaitlyn Ross signed up for a test about a week ago and was able to get an appointment scheduled for Wednesday.  She walked us through her experience waiting in line.

Below is her first-person experience.

Making the appointment

DeKalb County says they do not track wait times once you actually get an appointment, but getting the appointment itself can be difficult. 

I was first told it would be 14 days before I could get the nasal swap through the county, then found a closer site for seven days out. 

I'm here

Before the test site even opened in DeKalb County today, the lines were wrapped around the building. 

I got in line to get tested at 9:45. My appointment is actually at 11 a.m., but I figured I would get there a little early. 

Turns out, I got here way too late. I'm in the back of the line and there are at least 100 cars in front of me. 

It's only 10:05 in the morning, and I've already seen two cars leave because they didn't want to wait. 

The line is slowly creeping

It's 10:30 a.m. and the line is moving. I made it down to the lower parking lot.  So it's the second parking lot, then you finally make it to the lines where people get tested. 

There are a number of police officers who are keeping the lines moving and asking very specifically if people are registered to get tested today. 

A spokesman for DeKalb County says the wait times are getting worse because people are showing up without an appointment, or coming days in advance of their scheduled time. They say that's jumping the line, and penalizes people who play fair. 

Getting closer to the test

It's now 11 a..m and I've moved pretty much through the lower part of the parking lot. 

I'm getting closer to the lanes up front where you actually get the test. I've been in line for an hour and 15 minutes and it is moving, but I still have a little while to go. 

Taking the swab

There's no photography allowed while taking the test, so I had to go this part alone. It was quick and less than 10 seconds to get the test. 

I finished my test at 11:45 a.m. It took exactly two hours from when I got in line until when I got tested.

It wasn't pleasant, but it didn't hurt. It just kind of burns when the swab goes in to your nose. They told me I'll have my test results in two to three days.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 


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