Appointments now required at Cleveland COVID-19 testing site due to high demand and long lines

A swarm of cars wait in line at the drive-thru testing site at the W. O. Walker Building in University Circle Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021. The site will now be appointment-only due to high demand, Cleveland Clinic officials announced Tuesday. [Virginia Bardwell]
A swarm of cars wait in line at the drive-thru testing site at the W. O. Walker Building in University Circle Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021. The site will now be appointment-only due to high demand, Cleveland Clinic officials announced Tuesday. [Virginia Bardwell]

After two days of high demand and long lines, the mass drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Cleveland will now be appointment-only.

Registration has reopened, and individuals must register online for a scheduled appointment time starting Thursday, according to a Cleveland Clinic news release.

“Everyone must have a confirmed appointment time and a QR code from MAKO to be tested, even if you have previously registered,” officials said in the release. “Unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate any unscheduled patients.   

Officials are also asking patients to not arrive more than 15 minutes early for their appointment to combat crowding and traffic concerns, the release states.

“Those who arrive more than 15 minutes early will be asked to come back at their scheduled appointment time,” according to the release.

Before today’s announcement, individuals could arrive at any time to the testing clinic, located at the W. O. Walker Building in University Circle. The site was met with overwhelmingly high demand when it opened Tuesday, with traffic at a standstill for hours in University Circle and various areas surrounding Cleveland Clinic’s main campus. Officials eventually closed registration halfway through the day.

On Wednesday, individuals there reported less chaos at the site but long lines still persisted.

Speaking at an Ohio Department of Health news conference Wednesday, Major General John Harris of the Ohio National Guard, one of the agencies helping to run the site, said more improvements may be considered in the coming days, such as expanding to other locations.

"At some point, we'll have to consider other locations to relieve some of that stress, I think. There are certainly physical limitations to the number of vehicles that we can push through there at any given hour,” Harris said.

The testing site is led by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio National Guard and supported by Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.  

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