Demand for COVID tests on the rise with Christmas around the corner

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — COVID-19 cases aren’t the only thing surging around the country, demand for testing is also rising as people look forward to gathering with loved ones for Christmas.

But in some cases, supplies are low and people can’t always get the tests they’re hoping for.

“We definitely anticipate there will be long lines and waits,” said Mao Vang, a health program manager at La Familia in Sacramento County.

Late Monday morning, the La Familia testing site saw a steady but manageable stream of people seeking COVID-19 screening. Some, like Gilberto Reyes, were testing after potential exposures, while others like Barbara Mari wanted to safely gather for the holidays.

“I just don’t want to be the one who’s spreading the thing,” Reyes told FOX40.

“This year, we got free tickets for the ‘Nutcracker’ and we kind of want to take the kids. I love that they require the negative testing,” Mari said.

La Familia’s site is only open Mondays, which is how Vang accounted for the short wait times.

The lunch hour at the Cal Expo testing site also drew modest crowds, but later this week, Vang anticipates scenes closer to those being seen across the country: long waits for testing and limited supplies.

La Familia is offering both PCR and rapid testing, but they remind people that it’s important to plan ahead because the rapid tests run out quickly, with Monday’s batch gone by 11 a.m. Plenty of the more accurate PCR tests were still available.

All of the Sacramento County facilities send their specimens to the state lab for testing. The state reports 97% of tests taken between Dec. 5 and 11 came back in two days.

With more people testing in the days before Christmas, that wait could get longer.

“We don’t want you to miss a flight or a show, especially around this time of the holidays,” Vang said.

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