Texas woman waits 18 hours in line for Covid test

Texas woman waits 18 hours in line for Covid test
‘That was miserable and its really nobody’s fault’, says grandmother

A grandmother in Waco, Texas, has said she waited in line for more than 18 hours before getting a Covid test and that her family afterwards tested positive.

Barbara Battee said she went on Sunday with her adult son and two grandchildren for a test at Richland Mall, but was told to return three days running.

She told KWTX-TV that she went back on Monday and was told to wait for seven and a half hours, having already waited in line for six and half hours the day before.

On Tuesday, Ms Batee said she turned up at the drive-thru testing site at 5am and waited for another six hours before finally getting her test.

Most of her family members afterwards tested positive for Covid.

“I’d say it was only one per cent (who abandoned the wait) because we all need to test,” she said on Thursday. “I am not going back down there to retest…That was miserable and it’s really nobody’s fault”.

She added that she had “nothing but great things to say about those employees (at the testing site). They’re spending the day out there away from their families, and they’re doing the best they can”.

Another woman told the news channel that she helped a man who was throwing up while waiting.

The drive-thru testing site at Richland Mall is among 10 locations available for Covid testing in Waco, and one of the only free testing sites.

A line at the Richland Mall, Texas, Covid testing site

It advertises “no waits” and “pain free results in 10 minutes” on its website, although it has appeared to struggle with a surge in Covid cases seen in McLennan County and elsewhere across Texas.

Waco and McLennan County are among the worst locations in Texas for Covid cases currently, with 483 cases being reported on average daily.

That number is 467 per cent higher than the previous fortnight, and according to New York Times analysis, puts McLennan County in the top 10 per cent of Texas’s 254 counties for infections.

Roughly 49 per cent of residents are fully vaccinated, which is below the US national average.

The more than than 18-hour wait in Texas comes after state leaders and US president Joe Biden received criticism for the lack of availability of free and at-home testing for Americans.

Mr Biden has since promised to deliver millions of at-home Covid testing kits.

The Texas Republican Party meanwhile used the long waits at Covid testing sites to advertise new voting restrictions, and tweeted: “If you can wait in line for a covid test, you can wait in line to vote.”

The meme resulted in a backlash and criticism from Democrats.