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Testing Sites Overwhelmed As COVID-19 Numbers Continue To Surge

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County continues the trend of record-high numbers of positive COVID-19 cases to start the new year, reporting over 45,000 cases for the holiday weekend.

Saturday's totals of 21,200 positive cases, combined with Sunday's 23,553 are the second and third-consecutive days of over 20,000 reported cases, with Friday's record-setting 27,091.

People across the country have begun heading to testing sites in droves, hoping to learn their own fates when it comes to COVID-19 test results.

The process has become more streamlined over the last several months of the pandemic, as customers visiting drive-thru locations only need to make an appointment, pull up to a parking spot, get their nose swabbed and go.

However, some testing facilities are starting to feel the strain of this sudden rush.

One of those facilities is 911 COVID Testing in Santa Monica, where owner Steve Arzam said his test supply may dwindle by the end of the week, as his staff has administered an average 4,000 tests a day in recent weeks.

"It's been tough. It's been really hard on a lot of us," he said.

With the higher number of tests, of course come higher numbers, as Arzam reports that almost one-third of the people getting tested in recent days have come back positive for COVID-19 something he says is, "much higher than we've ever seen before."

As students prepare to go back to school on Monday, hundreds of parents are concerned about their return, stating that with the sudden surge taking hold of the country, this may not be the safest option for their children.

Adam Duford is one of those parents at least taking the necessary precautions, bringing his family to 911 COVID Testing on Sunday, with his daughter due to return to school on Tuesday.

"We don't really know what to think to be honest. It's hard to keep track of it," Duford said.

While hospitalizations currently remain low, health experts indicate that this may not remain the constant. Doctor Michael Daignault, emergency room surgeon with Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, says that the combination of both prominent variants - Delta and Omicron, may cause more of a storm for some than early indications suggested, "A lot of this is Delta and a lot of these patients may not be able to handle even a mild Omicron infection either."

Daignault says that children may be one of the demographics more affected by the new Omicron variant. "So what we're seeing in the emergency room is a lot of croup-like illness, a lot of bronchiolitis type illness caused by this Omicron variant - which is not a walk in the park for kids."

LAX travelers have also felt the strain of the recent rise in numbers, with thousands of flights getting cancelled since Christmas Eve, due to short-staffing concerns and rashes of COVID running through airline staffs.

Like many experiencing "pandemic fatigue," Dufort is just ready for things to get back to normal.

"Hopefully this is sort of close to the end of all this," he said.

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