People Race to Get Tested for COVID-19 Ahead of the Holidays

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There was a last-minute Christmas rush of a different kind Thursday.

People were racing to get tested for COVID-19 before the holidays amid a time when demand is outpacing supply.

On average in the past few weeks, the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds was testing roughly 1,200 people per day. But that number has jumped dramatically over the last couple of days, making appointments hard to find.

"We want to have the holiday with no worries, just stay healthy," Jennifer Jimenez said.

On the county's testing website, there were no more appointments available on Thursday. Christmas Eve was also booked solid. The next few open slots aren't until Monday.

"Just in the last week it's maybe tripled in our numbers on some days," said Sherie Call, clinical lead at the fairgrounds testing site.

She said the number of appointments tripled in some cases, up to 3,600 people on Wednesday alone.

"We’re pulling in extra staff that are helping at the vaccination sites that maybe have slowed down a little bit," Call said. "They’re coming over here to help us with the testing surges."

Call believes the testing surge is the result of several things, including the holidays, concerns about the new variant, children off for winter break and the nationwide shortage of the antigen tests at CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacies.

The county said it is adding testing slots throughout the day whenever possible, and it's working to expand capacity.

"Trying to fill up all of our tents with staff," Call said.

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