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Las Vegas’ biggest COVID-19 test site relocating as demand surges

Updated January 4, 2022 - 6:08 pm

The biggest COVID-19 testing site in Las Vegas is relocating.

The drive-thru site at UNLV’s Paradise Campus at 851 E Tropicana Ave. will move to the parking lot of Sam Boyd Stadium, 7000 E. Russell Road, in the southeast valley.

The UNLV site wasn’t intended to handle the recent high volumes of people seeking testing, which have caused traffic backups around Tropicana Avenue and Paradise Road, Clark County Emergency Manager Billy Samuels said Tuesday after the move was announced.

“We want to make sure people are safe coming to the site,” Samuels, a deputy fire chief, said in a phone interview.

The new location will open on Sunday, and Wednesday will be the last day of operation for the current site, according to a news release.

The new location will have the same hours of operation: Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. The switch comes after people at the current site have faced hourslong waits, especially on Sundays, to get a test or a vaccination.

Samuels expects the new site’s larger footprint to produce a smoother flow of traffic and to shorten wait times.

The new site will have 300 doses of vaccine and 1,200 tests available each night, according to the news release. Vaccine is available to those 12 and older.

On Monday night, 1,659 tests were administered at the UNLV site, a volume that Samuels said could not be sustained there on a regular basis.

The new site may be able to accommodate higher numbers of tests if more staffing becomes available, he said. The site will be run by the Nevada National Guard, Clark County, the Southern Nevada Health District and other partners.

Appointments are not required at the Sam Boyd site but preregistration at https://tinyurl.com/yhvadbjv is encouraged.

Demand for testing has soared throughout the valley as COVID-19 metrics for Clark County have skyrocketed, propelled by the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant. The UNLV site was overwhelmed on both Sunday and Monday and had to close early. Demand for testing also has contributed to crowding at hospitals emergency rooms and urgent care facilities.

Meanwhile, the Southern Nevada Health District announced Monday it was extending hours of operation at testing sites at three College of Southern Nevada campuses, where tests are available by appointment.

With the current bottleneck in testing, officials encourage people to cancel any appointments that no longer are needed — if, for example, an earlier appointment is found.

Updated testing information and locations are available on the health district’s website at snhd.info/covid-testing. An online test site finder tool also is available on the Nevada Response website at https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/find-covid-19-testing-in-nevada/. Some testing sites accept walk-ins as long as supplies last.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter. Contact Jonah Dylan at jdylan@reviewjournal.com. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.

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