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Some frequently asked questions about getting a COVID test

High demand is making waits a bit longer for coronavirus testing and results across Western New York.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The rise in COVID infection rates in the Buffalo area has prompted all sorts of questions (and complaints) from our viewers about how to get tested themselves.

So 2 On Your Side set out to gets some answers.

We start with a viewer (who did not want to be identified) who wrote: “I had absolutely no idea that it was taking 3-5 days just to get an appointment for a test at the NYS and Erie County sites.”

This appears to be the case but requires some explanation.

When we checked, we found for free testing through the State Health Department at the Buffalo and Niagara County sites is taking about three days to get an appointment.

The wait is because of volume.

“We are seeing an increase in demand with testing in the area in Western New York there,” says Gary Holmes, public information officer for the department.

And Erie County testing is pretty much booked for the next week.

During the noon hour Friday, County Health Department spokeswoman Kara Kane said that as of noon, “we have some openings still for our point-of-care tests on Monday. We book those just a few days out. Our diagnostic sites are full for next week Monday and Wednesday and we will not have our regular Thursday site open due to the Thanksgiving holiday.”

A good place to weigh area testing options is the Erie County Health Department website which has a pop-up map of area testing sites here

After getting a test at the state-run, drive-thru site in Buffalo, viewer Kimberlyn Comstock shared with 2 On Your Side, “Who knows how long results will take.”

Comstock and others should expect to wait at least three days. State tests are processed by private labs like BioReference and there has been surge in testing across the country .

And we got this question via Twitter from John Klanac, “Flying to Buffalo next month, and was wondering where to get tested and how far in advance I can book an appointment.”

We found one test provider that will permit someone to make a testing appointment more than a month out: Quest. A doctor’s order is not required, but you may have to pay for the test upfront, a cost of about $130.