Vermonters with travel plans flock to COVID-19 testing sites

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Vermonters looking to travel are lining up for COVID-19 tests in record numbers.

On Wednesday, Garnet Health, which provides testing services at 17 locations in Vermont, counted 643 tests, including 160 walk-ins, at its Pine Street location in Burlington. Thursday’s numbers weren’t far behind: 635 tests, including 166 walk-ins.

“We are seeing more testing done right now, than we did during the peak of all this last year,” said Norm Nault, deputy director of operations for Garnet Health.

Most of those willing to be interviewed said they were getting tested in order to travel.

“Going to Canada on Saturday hopefully,” said Stephen Lewis from Colchester.

One woman was getting tested with her family so she could safely move her daughter back to college.

“We’ve been waiting to get up to Canada for two years and my daughter goes to school there,” said Kim Maxwell from South Burlington.

Another mom prepared for her travel plans by going to the site with her daughters, who aren’t yet eligible for the vaccine.

“We are traveling this weekend to visit my family, and we’re all going to be staying in a house together. Anybody that is unvaccinated, which are our kids right now, we’re all testing to make sure that we are all safe going down,” said Amy Sheridan from South Burlington.

Nault says the high number of tests aren’t too surprising, calling the combination of increased travel plans, the border reopening and the delta variant a “perfect storm.”

“It’s really great to see people take responsibility and making sure were staying safe and getting tested,” said Nault.

Marcy Webster of Charlotte has decided to get tested every week. “I know someone who is vaccinated and got Covid,” she said.

Nault says Garnet, which offers testing at the Pine Street location Monday-Thursday and on Saturday, hopes to expand to 7 days a week. Appointments can be made online.

Vermont Department of Health reported 114 new cases Thursday. 

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