Milwaukee-area COVID test scramble 'frustrating' as omicron spreads

Hours before the New Year's holiday weekend, the demand for a COVID-19 test hasn't wavered. Drive-thru sites continue to draw long lines of cars, while others are scrambling to find at-home test kits elsewhere. 

The options are dwindling heading into the holiday. A West Allis pharmacist said she's checking with her supplier every 10 minutes to try to order more at-home test kits. Others say wait times and even finding a spot to test are becoming frustrating.

At a relocated testing site near Hart Park in Wauwatosa, Alper Kolcu said Thursday, Dec. 30 he'd been looking for a COVID test since Monday.

Between working remotely and limited testing hours outside of the workday, he had to wait until Thursday and then wait some more in line, hoping the delay wouldn't stop him from getting tested like it has before.

"I don't even know if I'm going to get tested right now, so it's very frustrating," said Kolcu.

Others waiting said they came to this site, operated by Texas-based Grand Avenue Pharmacy, out of convenience.

SIGN UP TODAY: Get daily headlines, breaking news emails from FOX6 News

Tepesto Joiner first tried getting an appointment through his primary care provider.

"Some, they fill up so fast," said Joiner. "Otherwise, if I wanted an appointment, the 5th was like, the earliest I could get in and get a test."

The lack of availability isn't limited to drive-thru sites.

"We always receive phone calls, emails asking for the home kits," said Marwa Bakr, owner and pharmacist at Infinity Pharmacy.

Bakr said she checks with her supplier every 10 minutes to purchase more at-home testing kits. She's tried looking elsewhere, but that presents a different challenge.

"If they are not the primary supplier, the price is up high," said Bakr. "It's triple the price that I used to purchase before, so yeah, it's hard to find and hard to get."

Instead, she's offering customers rapid tests on-site, trying to meet the holiday-driven demand as best she can.

"We are happy to help everyone, and we are here for everyone," said Bakr. 

Infinity Pharmacy hours have been extended Friday and Saturday, staying open until 7 offer testing for those who need it.


Advocate Aurora Health restricting visitors as COVID surges

Advocate Aurora Health announced that no visitors will be allowed for adult hospital inpatients – effective Thursday, Dec. 30.


Milwaukee COVID cases climb, mask guidance returns

As COVID-19 cases surge, Fiserv Forum will again require masks. The question: Will Milwaukee follow suit and institute a citywide mask mandate?