ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Stores and libraries keep selling out of at-home COVID-19 tests, testing sites are experiencing hours-long waiting times, and pharmacy and clinic testing appointments are fully-booked days in advance. Now, many Virginians are asking, what do you do when you can’t get tested?

Health experts encourage you to use common sense. If you may have been exposed to the coronavirus and/or are experiencing symptoms but can’t get tested right away, it’s best to assume you have the virus, notify people with whom you were in contact, and quarantine or isolate.

Keep in mind, though, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines do make a distinction between quarantining and isolating.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and you aren’t fully up to date on your vaccines, you should stay home and quarantine. On the other hand, if you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms or test positive for the virus — even if you don’t have symptoms — you should stay home and isolate.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) says the omicron variant is very transmissible, which is resulting in high case numbers and making it hard for healthcare workers to keep up the pace.

In addition, due to the surge in COVID-19 numbers and the difficulty of getting rapid antigen test kits in communities, people are seeking out PCR testing, which is creating a perfect storm for the VDH.

According to Christie Wills with the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, health officials are working hard to create more community testing events, as well as provide more tests for the most vulnerable environments and populations, such as nursing homes, schools, and people experiencing homelessness.

“We want to make sure those settings have testing support, as well, and we are trying to help meet their needs in the background because if transmission takes hold in those settings, people are very vulnerable in those circumstances,” explained Wills.

To find a COVID-19 testing site in your area, check out the VDH website. You can also check out a list of vaccination guidelines and nearby vaccine providers by following this link.