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Northeast Philadelphia COVID-19 Testing Site Forced To Turn People Away After Hitting Max Capacity

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --  If you're planning to get a post-holiday COVID-19 test, clear your schedule. Because demand is so high and supply is short, the testing site on Cottman Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia had to turn people away on Tuesday.

It appears a lot of people are looking to get tested due to the most recent COVID outbreak.

There's also a line of cars waiting to get into a testing site in Gloucester County. They're administering free PCR and rapid testing for whoever wants one. 

Northeast Philadelphia COVID-19 Testing Site Forced To Turn People Away After Hitting Max Capacity

The mobile testing site in Northeast Philadelphia was at capacity within a half-hour of opening. 

There's no appointment necessary. It's first come first serve, so people arrived early hoping to get tested. 

Dr. Cheryl Bettigole from the Philadelphia Health Department says there are more people testing positive for COVID now than they've seen in the last two years. And that hospitals are packed with people experiencing COVID symptoms. 

She says it's critical for those who are not fully vaccinated or boosted to take extra precautions by masking up and staying away from indoor gatherings. 

Bettigole says the number of positive cases is skyrocketing, with numbers as much as twice what they were last year and mirroring numbers from May 2020. 

Individuals testing Tuesday say they want to ensure they're protecting loved ones this holiday. 

"We can only accept 125 people because of the amount of cases that have been increasing," Jose Gandulla, of Oak Street Health, said. "We reached our capacity before it even started and simply for logistical reasons that we cannot step beyond that number because these tests do have to go to a lab. And to make sure that everyone does get their results in the timeframe that is promised to them, we can only allow 125 people."

The Northeast Philadelphia testing site closes at 1 p.m., while the site in Gloucester County will remain open until 7 p.m.

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