Parents struggle to find COVID tests for kids sent home sick

Onondaga County

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR) — To come back to school after being sent home sick in Syracuse districts, students must provide a negative COVID test. But parents say it’s no easy task when supply for those necessary tests is so scarce.

On one day in late September, nearly 11,000 coronavirus tests were administered. That’s the highest number since May. This demand for tests is felt and fed by the parents of local students who want to return.

Children with symptoms of almost anything are reportedly sent home. Jeanine Werth, a mother of two from Baldwinsville, had to stay home from work Wednesday because her son was home from school. She struggled to locate tests for two weeks straight. “Instead of getting a test and getting home to rest, which kids should do” she explained in an interview, “we spent two-to-seven hours look for a test.”

Werth said she tried her child’s doctor, pharmacies, and urgent care centers.

“All of the WellNow (urgent cares) in the area were completely booked,” she said, “and the doctor’s office was booked. There’s very few other places to go.”

WellNow has converted seven of its 16 local urgent cares into testing centers only for asymptomatic people. “We weren’t even allowed in the door,” Werth said. “They were booked and no longer accepting new patients.”

Onondaga County offers a testing clinic for students and teachers sent home from school sick, but are no longer showing symptoms. People can search for other testing options on the State Department of Health website. State and county governments have so far not publicized plans to expand testing or open mass testing sites.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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