ORANGE COUNTY (CBSLA) - COVID-19 numbers continue to soar in Orange County with 15,427 new cases and 5 deaths reported Monday by the Orange County Health Care Agency.
With the newly reported cases, Orange County has now surpassed 350,000 cumulative cases with 5,895 deaths to date. There are currently 545 cases currently hospitalized, including 104 cases currently in Intensive Care Units.
With cases surging, COVID-19 testing has become more and more difficult with longer wait times.
The wait for COVID testing outside of Lake Forest City Hall was at least two hours Monday morning. The line snaked through the parking lot and wrapped around the front of the building.
"I was very surprised. I thought it would go quickly but it went pretty slow," said Jane Bayer, a Lake Forest resident.
Bayer had an appointment for testing and she wanted to be sure that she's COVID free after having cold symptoms last week.
"I was going to have lunch with my elderly parents this week and I'm not sure if I had the flu last week, just mild symptoms, just wanted to make sure," said Bayer. "I [also] had a couple other gatherings and I just wanted to be sure I wouldn't expose anybody."
As Omicron cases are soaring, so is the demand for testing.
"Well, we have a lot of cases at my work. I work retail. I just wanted to be on the safe side," said Rana Baharmand, a Lake Forest resident. "I don't have any symptoms, but I had the day off [and] I thought I might as well come in."
Across the southland, Sky9 flew over several testing sites Monday morning and found cars filled with people waiting for their swabs. In Boyle Heights at White Memorial Hospital, a white tent was the staging area.
Meanwhile at Dodger Stadium, cars stacked up in a long line. In Baldwin Park, a serpentine of cars wound around the top level of the parking structure at Kaiser Permanente where more COVID testing was available.
At lunch time, for nearly a mile along La Palma Avenue in Anaheim, patients waited outside of a Kaiser facility to get to the drive thru testing. At Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, boxes of free home tests are being handed out. People can request to have them mailed to their homes.
"We want to make sure that people don't go to work sick. They don't go to school sick. School is starting back up," said Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley.
Dr. Margaret Bredehoft, of the Orange County Health Care Agency, says supplies are low nationally for rapid tests, but if you plan ahead PCR tests are available with results in one to two days.
"Nationally, there's a shortage and if you need to have them, unfortunately it does come at a cost," said Dr. Bredehoft
That cost can run as high as $150 to $200. Orange County residents can go to the Orange County Health Care Agency website for details about free at home test kits that provide results within a day or two.
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