RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Long lines for COVID-19 testing have been a common sight in the Triangle for the last week. With thousands of people driving through those sites, at some point, someone has to process those samples.
Mako Medical is one of the biggest COVID testing partners in North Carolina. They process thousands of samples a week.
Their Mudcat Stadium testing site in Zebulon is seeing about a thousand people a day. It’s a lot but still fewer than sites like PNC Arena that can see upwards of 7,000 people on a busy day.
Alex Henson is a site leader for Mako Medical. He travels to several testing sites every day.
“When people come up, you can tell there’s quite a lot of sick people that are not feeling very well,” said Henson.
He said Mako’s goal is to stick with their 48- to 72-hour turnaround time for results.
“We know people have to go back to school, have to go back to work. A lot of people are traveling,” said Henson.
So, it’s all systems go.
“We are pulling people from all over the company. We’re doing a mass hiring as well, just trying to get these tests processed timely,” he said.
Henson said earlier this week, Mako had 100,000 tests from around the country to process. The demand is so high that some of the staff will finish a shift at the testing site and go directly to the lab to help process some of the samples they just swabbed.
Mako’s lab has three shifts going 24 hours a day. Henson said their employee parking lot is full every day with all hands on deck.
“As soon as one (shift) is done, new people come in and pick up right where the last ones left off so there’s never a moment where tests are not being processed,” he said.
The testing site and laboratory staff thought they were busy with the delta variant but omicron blew that out of the water, Henson said.
“You can definitely tell a big difference between this new variant, this wave. It’s absolutely crazy,” Henson said.
And there’s no telling when this “crazy” will end.