Many at CenturyLink wait hours for a COVID-19 test

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
CenturyLink experienced long lines on Thursday as crowds flocked to get tested ahead of family gatherings. (CREDIT: WINK News)

The WINK News drone flew above the COVID-19 testing site at CenturyLink Sports Complex on Monday. There, you could see the long line of cars waiting not only for a test but to simply get to the front of the line.

Not only were the lines long, but they were filled with people who were frustrated and confused.

Nomi Health, who runs the testing site at CenturyLink, announced last week, along with FDOH-Lee, that this testing site would be appointment only. But, the website had not been updated to reflect that. So, the result was too many people, not enough tests and far too much chaos.

Those in line were not too happy about the delays.

John Pacheo says he went to the website and saw that they were accepting walk-ins. “I went to the website and, the website said walk-ins accepted, and it didn’t say anything on the website about CenturyLink being appointments.”

Nick Agostino was visiting from Canada. “We did have an appointment at 10:15,” said Agostino.

Kaitlyn Dodson picked up on the collective confusion about procedures at the testing site. “I feel like everybody is confused. I saw some other people walking around not sure what to do,” she said.

All that confusion was due to the testing site’s website error. A spokesperson with Nomi Health admitted that the COVID-19 testing site at CenturyLink showed that walk-ins were still welcome. This was still up despite Nomi switching to appointment-only last week.

So, on Monday morning, the staff at CenturyLink Sports Complex attempted to accommodate both the walk-ins and those with appointments.

“Why do we have to make an appointment if we are going to wait in line with everybody else? I don’t see any reason why they should even make an appointment then,” said Agostino.

By 11 a.m., Lee County Sheriff’s deputies had to come by and shut the site down altogether. They were turning away cars, whether they had an appointment or not, citing a test shortage.

Idalia Serrano lives in Fort Myers. “It’s been about 45 minutes, and probably two cars have cut people off in this line, and now we are at the end, and, unfortunately, we have to go home,” Serrano said.

By 11:30, the site had reopened, this time only for appointments. Agostino hopes it says that way. “It would be nice if they had something in place to try to get people through a little quicker,” he said.

CenturyLink, from this point forward, will be operating appointment-only. To book an appointment, you can follow this link.

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