As positivity rates reach 17% in San Diego County, the demand for COVID-19 tests at local testing sites have also increased dramatically.
A San Diego County spokesperson told NBC 7 testing during the week before Christmas at the county testing locations increased by 45% despite the fact that most testing locations were closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
In the week following Christmas, many San Diegans reported experiencing two- to three-hour wait times at COVID-19 testing locations.
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Over the New Year's Eve holiday weekend, county-run testing sites will once again be closed on Friday and Saturday.
Meanwhile, hospitals, non-profits and private companies have all reported similar increase in demand for tests.
DoctorNow San Diego, a private company that started offering tests in San Diego three months ago, say they have gone from administering around 10 tests per day when they opened to hundreds over the last few days. Manager Jerred Schuh says last week 40% of the tests he administered came back with positive results.
"I have had people in tears on the phone people, they are like I’ve been standing in line for hours and I’m almost to the front and they came out and said we’re out of tests, crying on the phone, do you have anything?" Schuh said.
The tests at DoctorNow are covered by insurance, an expedited PCR test costs $175 per test and a rapid antigen tests costs $55 per test. Results for regular tests come back within 24 to 48 hours and wait times the past week have been up to 20 minutes Schuh says. He attributes the increase in demand for the tests to the omicron variant.
"I would say 70% of the people who come in say they don’t have symptoms, but they always say I was recently around someone who tested positive, I’m coming in here just to be safe," Schuh said.
DoctorNow is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.