DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The omicron variant has caused a powerful surge in COVID-19 cases and urgent care centers are slammed with more people scrambling to get tested.

“It was quiet for a little bit and it seemed like one day it was okay and the next day it just exploded and we’re going as fast as we can seeing people,” Dr. Beth Weaver said.

AllSouth Urgent Family Care conducts two types of COVID-19 testing — PCR which can take up to three days to get results sent back and rapid antigen testing which can be done at the clinic, however it may take time due to the limited number of machines.

“People have to sign in and get their vital signs taken they have to be seen and tested then it goes through the lab so sometimes it’s more of a wait than we would like them to have,” Dr. Weaver said.

One problem that may contribute to a longer waiting time for patients is staffing. Out of the two locations in Dothan, there are usually over 30 employees on staff.

Dr. Weaver said now that number has dropped due to the challenge to find nurses to fill positions, nurses moving on quickly, or simply the virus taking a toll on their employees.

In fact, the center had to change their hours and limit the number of patients they see looking to get tested.

Ryan Lewis, a patient waiting to get tested, says he understands what the healthcare professionals are going through.

“I was scheduled to be here at 11 I was here at 11 and they called me at 12:40 to come in they are trying times are hard right now, it’s not easy especially when people are catching it,” He said.

COVID-19 testing is widely available including stores that may have take-home kits in stock.

We reached out to Circle pharmacy and Bowen pharmacy, however, both of them have sold out of take-home tests.

Bowen pharmacy has ordered more and could have them in by the end of the week.