Long lines at Kirby Park, relocation of Luzerne County COVID testing site


WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Concerns over the spread of COVID-19 are leading to long lines at testing sites. At Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre people have been in line since early Wednesday morning.

However, without a doubt, a much smoother operation was handled Wednesday. Officials tell us they were better prepared for the massive response.

The people we spoke with in line were here for a variety of reasons. The number one reason, to make sure they protect themselves and their loved ones.

The line was as long as three hours to get a covid test at the Kirby Park testing site. The testing began at 10:00 a.m. The original testing site on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre was simply too small to handle the overwhelming response from the public.

Riley Wilpiscewski lives with her grandmother and wants to keep her safe. She’s been feeling under the weather the last day or two. She wants to make sure it is not COVID-19.

“It’s kind of sad too because everything is peaking again it’s just sad, to be honest,” said Wilpiscewski.

Adam Zawatsky says he wants to protect his family and friends.

“It’s a difficult situation. I mean we will all know we have to be responsible as possible to stop the spread of the virus. It’s a difficult situation we just have to be as principally responsible as possible..Hopefully, a betterment to society,” explained Zawatsky.

Fabio Guerrero just wants things to get back to normal, “It’s pretty sad like you can’t go outside anymore. You can’t hang out with people not like a big group go to the park hang out with your friends or anything.”

Other folks in line say they don’t know what to believe when it comes to COVID-19.

“It seems like a little odd to me how it just keeps happening with these different variances. All around the same time for the last couple of years. I don’t know what to think of it. Nothing is right. Every day something is changing,” stated Anthony Spatafora.

“If you’re planning on coming here be here early and expect to be here for a long time,” said Dave Elmore.

Elmore, Deputy Director of Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency, is helping run this testing site.

Courtesy: City of Wilkes-Barre

He says the operation is running for the most part smoothly as compared to the day before on south main street when there were some problems because of the unexpected huge public response.

“With proper planning, it runs very smoothly. It takes a lot of effort from the department of health from the Wilkes-Barre City as well as the Department of Health from Pennsylvania and of course EMA and the fine folks from the county,” stated Elmore.

Elmore says he heard a variety of reasons from people who came to the site to be tested for COVID.

Some of the reasons that we’ve been told they have to return to work with a negative test or those who are willing to fly home they need a negative test as well as for those students who need to return to school with a negative test the are here getting tested,” explained Elmore.

This testing site can handle 500 tests a day. Then they halt the tests for the day state officials tell me the state lab can only handle 500 a day from this site, the results are expected in 1 to 3 days.

Testing will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, January 5th through Friday, January 7, and on Saturday, January 8th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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