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Walk-in tests now available at Lucas County Rec Center

"Well I think walk-ins are a great idea because I would rather come in, give my name, my address, my phone number, get tested and then be done with it."

Getting tested for COVID-19 just got easier in Lucas County. There are now two sites opening this week that will accept walk-ins. However, we're learning people aren't yet taking advantage of it.

"I did free online registration. I had zero problems with it," Bob Fox said. 

"Very simple. I was totally surprised at how many openings there were," explained Dan Murphy. "It ran real smooth and everyone's polite."

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, ProMedica and Mercy Health teamed up to create the testing site, which opened Jan. 7

The county initially anticipated testing up to 1,000 people per day, but only about half that many people booked appointments each day. The site has tested about 4,000 people so far, which is fewer than officials had expected.

Last week, a second site opened up in a more centralized location, at UAW Local 12 at 2300 Ashland Ave. Officials hoped to bring in more people seeking a COVID-19 test.

Since the highly infectious omicron variant emerged in early December, case numbers across the country have spiked. In Ohio that has led to a backlog in daily case reporting, though state officials announced more than 19,000 new cases Monday.

Omicron also has caused, though in recent days state has begun to show a slight decline in hospitalizations.

Officials have been concerned for weeks as many sick people began flooding into emergency rooms, some to seek treatment but others just to be tested. This has created issues because with hospitals have been at or near capacity for weeks. The goal in opening off-site testing facilities, like the ones at the rec center and UAW hall has been to alleviate some of that pressure on those hospitals.

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When the rec center testing site opened, appointments were required, which could explain the lower than anticipated numbers. Now that the testing sites accept walk-ins, more people may take advantage of them. Officials still encourage people to make an appointment when possible, however.

"I feel like scheduling was super simple," said Carol Dejong. "But if you need to come in, they're certainly not busy."

This is a good thing for people like Kevin Kolanko, who might need a last-minute test. "Walk-in was a last-minute decision," he said. "I hadn't been feeling good over the weekend and I figured I would come in and get tested."

The UAW Local 12 at 2300 Ashland Ave. is only open Jan 18 & 19 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

The Lucas County Rec Center is open for testing from Jan. 16 through Jan. 21 from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

RELATED: Insurers must now reimburse for at-home COVID tests. But there's a catch.