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Demand for COVID Tests Increase As Omicron Surge, Holiday Season Overlap

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) -- COVID-19 testing sights are seeing a significant increase in demand for tests amid the holiday season and because of the spread of the Omicron variant.

The parking lot at Cal Expo was full Wednesday with residents attempting to get tested ahead of New Year's Eve.

"If we get the test in time and everything works out, we can move on," said Thana Paguyo.

Thana waited at Cal Expo as Sacramento County hustled to distribute tests.

"We set up an appointment for 2 o'clock and we drove out at 4:02, so it took about two hours," said Christopher Paguyo.

On Wednesday, it was the Paguyo family's second time trying to get tested.

"We were here the other day," Thana said. "They said it could be five hours, so we left."

Finally they're back, and this time they were prepared for the wait.

"We brought snacks. We had chips. We had croissants. There's stuff [in the car]. We had water," Thana said.

Sacramento County says between the holiday season and the Omicron variant growing, the demand for tests is significant.

"Our community testing sights have seen an increase," said Samantha Mott, a spokesperson for the county.

Cal Expo relies on third party company Curative to administer PCR tests for COVID-19, but just how many more tests have been given out this week compared to last?

"Today at Cal Expo we've administered 1,300 PCR tests," Curative Manager Shoshana Gould said Wednesday.

Last week, Curative told CBS13 only about 300 PCR tests were administered per day – that's roughly a 330% increase in administered tests.

"It's been crazy," Gould said.

Despite the overwhelming demand, both Sacramento County and it's testing partners anticipated the surge.

"We definitely have enough staff," Gould said.

Despite the extremely high demand, Sacramento County says they are not seeing a shortage in tests.

CBS13 asked if they are considering more strict COVID-19 protocols if cases rise. They tell us they are not having that conversation yet.

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