FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – COVID-19 testing lines are getting longer by the day in Northwest Arkansas, and those working the testing sites are feeling the pressure. 

“For us, at Community Clinic and across the Northwest Health Spectrum, it has been busy and trying,” says Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Berner with Community Clinic in Fayetteville. 

He says the Omicron variant has created massive lines at testing sites, which stretch medical staff even thinner. 

But his most significant concern with the rush to testing sites are people who need a test being deterred by the line. 

“If you were somebody who is high risk and worried about how a more severe illness would progress, then you need to find out that information quickly because we see those people have problems quickly,” says Dr. Berner. 

Dr. Sharon Reece with UAMS has been working the drive-through testing clinic in Fayetteville; she says the results they’re noticing in the line have been alarming.  

“We are currently seeing a positivity rate of 30%. Previously with the Delta variant, we were seeing a positivity rate of nine or 10%,” says Dr. Reece. 

If you are one of these high-risk cases, Dr. Berner says waiting in line to be tested is worth it, no matter how long it is. 

“You need to touch base with your primary care team and get some advice even if it’s just a phone call and they can get input about how quickly they can get tested,” says Dr. Berner.