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COVID: Spike In Cases Triggers More Demand For Testing, Longer Wait Times

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- As COVID cases spike, more people are realizing they need to get tested. In fact, every Bay Area County Health Department is seeing a significantly higher demand for testing and officials don't want community test sites to become overwhelmed.

"We've already decided not to scale back some testing sites we had considered scaling back. As the demand changes we are going to consider opening up additional testing sites," said Dr. Chris Farnitano of Contra Costa Health Services.

Sam Levin has been trying to get tested for days after being exposed to a close family member who tested positive.

"It's hard to get tested now as it was through the real peak," said Levin.

He finally got an appointment online, but spent an hour one-way just to get to this testing site, and isn't sure how long it would have taken if he tried for a walk-in.

"It's not an easy process. For me I never tried to drop in so I don't really know," said Levin.

Gone are the mass testing sites and many of the walk-ins. The majority of the remaining ones listed by San Francisco's department of health are appointment only.

"We are also continuing testing full speed ahead we do see an increase in testing demand," said Dr. Naveena Bobba of the San Francisco Department of Health.

"In Marin County we also are seeing an increase in demand for testing," said Dr. Lisa Santora of Marin County Department of Health.

Nearly every Bay Area county health department is now looking into expanding hours and possibly opening up more sites.

"The City of Berkeley is also seeing an increase in demand for testing and we are working with our testing partners," said Dr. Lisa Hernandez of Berkeley Public Health.

Public health officials are encouraging people to check with their medical providers first because they don't want city-run or community sites to be clogged with demands for testing.

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