San Mateo County

Health Officials Urge Testing, Vaccines as Schools Prepare to Reopen Following Holidays

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San Mateo County health officials are urging residents to get tested and vaccinated for COVID-19, especially those who are planning to travel or anticipate a return to in-person schooling.

Health officials attribute the increase to holiday gatherings and the Omicron variant, which is more contagious. The risk of community transmission of COVID-19 is currently very high, with more than 2,000 new cases in San Mateo County since last week -- including the Omicron variant.

"More people are infectious and spreading the virus indoors," Dr. Curtis Chan, the county's deputy health officer, said. "Taking these steps -- limiting close contacts, wearing a mask indoors to prevent getting infected and infecting others, isolating when symptomatic, and getting tested -- can reduce the likelihood of severe COVID affecting you, your family and community."

Health officials said there are two types of COVID-19 testing: rapid antigen tests, which return results quickly, and polymerase chain reaction tests, or PCR, which typically return results within 72 hours although times may vary depending on demand.

San Mateo County only offers PCR testing at 10 sites, which it operates through contracted providers Curative and LHI/OptumServe. The county is not distributing rapid antigen tests to the general public or to cities.

To see a full list of COVID-19 testing sites in San Mateo County, visit smcgov.com/testing.

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