PASADENA, Calif.—As people are heading back to work and school following the holiday break, many COVID-19 testing centers are booked until next week.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported nearly 45,000 cases over New Year’s weekend, putting testing centers under strain.
Madison Torres, a local resident, was waiting in line to take a COVID-19 test at Exer Urgent Care in Pasadena Jan. 3. She said she needed to take the test before returning to work, but had trouble booking an appointment and could only do a walk-in.
“I’ve tried to look online, and they’ve been booked until the middle of January,” Torres told The Epoch Times.
Arturo and Esther Santamaria, an elderly couple living in Alhambra who were also waiting to take a COVID-19 test, said they just came back from vacation in Mexico last week and tried to take a rapid test at two other testing locations, but ran into difficulty.
One site they visited charged $120 per test.
Michelle, another woman waiting in line to take a test, who declined to provide her last name, said she visited Kaiser Permanente before she went to Urgent Care and was told to schedule an appointment online.
“It’s packed. It took me 20 minutes to find a parking place. … I’m having chills, my eyes are burning. I need to know if I have COVID, then I must take a treatment,” she told The Epoch Times.
A Rite Aid Pharmacy providing COVID-19 tests by appointment in Rosemead, as of Jan. 3, was booked until Jan. 7.
A pharmacy staff member told The Epoch Times they administer approximately 30 tests per day.
LA County reported over 23,000 new cases on Jan. 1, and another 21,000 individuals had tested positive on Jan. 2. Currently, the county has more than 1,600 people hospitalized with COVID-19.
With the rise in COVID-19 cases, officials are encouraging the public to support public health by following safety measures such as maintaining social distance and wearing masks.
“We hope that by working together to implement essential public health safety measures, we can stay safe, protect those we love, and keep our schools and businesses open. During this surge, given the spread of a more infectious strain of the virus, lapses can lead to explosive transmission,” LA County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.