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Lake County Fairgrounds not letting any more cars in line for free COVID-19 testing

The pop-up site only has about 2,000 tests available, so only those already in line will be able to get one.

PAINESVILLE, Ohio — A free COVID-19 pop-up testing event is taking place Wednesday at the Lake County Fairgrounds, but if you're not already in line, you're out of luck.

Officials told 3News they only have about 2,000 rapid antigen tests available, and therefore no more cars will be allowed to get in line. Those who have already arrived but are still waiting will be given a swab.

The county sheriff's office announced the planned closure just before 11:30 a.m., more than three hours before the pop-up clinic was scheduled to close. Some volunteers reported seeing vehicles lined up as early as 5 a.m., even though testing didn't begin until 10.

The pop-up testing site comes as Greater Cleveland deals with a surge in coronavirus cases fueled by the omicron variant, which in turn is leading to a shortage of available tests. According to The New York Times, Lake County is averaging 194 new cases per 100,000 residents each day over the past two weeks, the second-highest figure in Ohio behind only Cuyahoga County.

In a joint statement issued Tuesday when the clinic was announced, Dr. Christopher Orr from the SCT Medical Clinic in Parma and nurse Peter Orr from Azimuth Medical in Painesville said:

"In 2020, Azimuth Medical and SCT Medical Clinic adjusted operations to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic needs of Northeast Ohio. Testing, particularly at the holidays when loved ones and friends gather, is a critical component to stopping the spread of this deadly virus and keeping our community safe. We are honored to provide this free, accessible COVID-19 testing event to Northeast Ohio at a time when the demand for testing is high and COVID-19 cases surge in our community."

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