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Lines, frustrations grow outside of First Call Medical Center at BWI ahead of holiday travel

Posted at 6:33 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 18:33:55-05

BALTIMORE — Just days ahead of Christmas, despite surging cases of COVID-19 in Maryland, travelers at BWI are catching a break from long lines; but, a select group of those travelers aren't so lucky.

"I think we're traveling on the right day today. This is a surprise to see a relatively light travel load," said Keith West.

It's the right day for him to travel to Chicago for Christmas but ti didn't come without a list of concerns before-hand.

"this is a dangerous time in our lives so we've thought about the travel but we're also are vaccinated and we wear our masks and we try to obey all of the rules to stay safe," West said.

"It's going to take me probably another hour or so to get through this if I had to guess," shared Julian Wenzel as he stood in line outside of the First Call Medical Center waiting for a Covid test.

It's a completely different list of concerns for those travelling abroad.

while lines moved smoothly through airport terminals, frustrations just outside of first call medical center brewed as patients stood shoulder to shoulder in a line growing by the minute.

the medical director of first call attributes the increased wait times to a short staff spread thin--tending to a growing line of patients.

FCMC's staff saw 90 patients, it's lowest amount of patients recorded within the last week on the 14th.

On the 15th, they saw 110, the 16th 140, the 17th 190, the 18th 280.

As of Wednesday, First Call has seen upwards of 300 patients per day--driving an average 15 to 45 minute wait time for a covid test to almost 3 hours.

Folks there waiting on Covid tests tell WMAR2 news, its certainly wasn't what they expected.

"It makes sense. It definitely does. People are trying to travel. People want to be safe and with the Omicron variant a spike in cases is expected. Its definitely alot worse than what I was anticipating. I expected lines but not lines like this," said Wenzel.

Airport officials are encouraging anyone traveling within the next couple of days to pack their patience and show up early to adhere to COVID19 protocols.