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Boston Public Health Commission Director Says Current Wait For COVID Tests Is 'Completely Unacceptable'

BOSTON (CBS) -- COVID cases in Massachusetts have been spiking for several days, largely because of the Omicron variant.

Many residents are now desperate for COVID-19 test results to get back to work or school, but the lines for tests are long across the state.

At a COVID testing site in Saugus on Saturday, there were sprawling lines of cars, with people waiting for hours.

"We got here around 12:45 p.m. because we wanted to be first in line for two, and it's now almost 4:40 p.m," said Boston resident Allie Vanliere.

Residents are calling on lawmakers to provide more testing options.

"This is what you have to do to get tested, so I feel like the state should open more 'Stop the Spread' sites to benefit everyone," said another person waiting in line.

In Boston on Saturday, Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission, says that's what they're working on.

"We have all see the long lines for testing. This is completely unacceptable. So we're working diligently to increase access to testing throughout the city of Boston," said Dr. Ojikutu,

Boston's current positivity rate is 32%, which is up from 22% a week ago. More than 2,000 cases are being reported each day.

"These next few weeks are going to be difficult. We need to wear masks, get tested, get vaccinated, get boosted," said Ojikutu.

Some who waited in line said they understood the wait.

"It's what it is. It's important that we get this test, so I'm not mad, I'm not aggravated. I'm just waiting to get my turn," said Anne-Marie Nardella of Saugus.

So far, hours at the Anna Cole Community COVID testing site in Jamaica Plain have been extended.

Mayor Michelle Wu says her team is working on opening other high capacity sites as soon as possible.

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