LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to ravage throughout Southern California, so is the demand for testing kits.
“I want to get a negative covid test so that I can stop self-isolating from my girlfriend,” said patient Tim Banh.READ MORE: Suspect Identified As Shawn Laval Smith In Murder Of Brianna Kupfer, Hancock Park Furniture Store Employee Found Stabbed
Residents lined up at their local testing sites to pick up their at-home kits after a program to mail the kits fizzled under the high demand. Sites like Plummer Park in West Hollywood turned into an open-air medical center as lines of people picked up their free at-home testing kits. However, instead of returning to the comfort of their homes, and conducting the tests there, some residents tilted their heads and shoved the cotton swabs into their noses quickly after receiving the kits.
“Just gonna hop in my car, swab my nose and then come bring it back real quick,” said West Hollywood resident Sam Luna.
According to county officials, the new self-serve system could add about 10,000 tests each day in the county, giving an alternative to residents who are struggling to find at-home test kits themselves or hope to dodge the hours-long lines at some testing sites.READ MORE: Man Climbs Downtown Transmission Tower Prompting Train Closures On West Side Of LA River
“I went to five and I was not able to find a home test,” Luna said. “I went to Walgreens and CVS, I was not able to find the test then I was literally driving from the CVS down the street and saw this.”
The rapidly rising case numbers are concerning doctors, fearing that the Omicron variant is spreading too quickly.
“It’s so contagious, that I almost feel that it’s inevitable that all of us are going to get exposed,” said emergency room physician Dr. Angelique Campen. “I am hearing more and more people who are fully vaccinated, who practice hand hygiene, universal masking are getting sick, we really need to contain this.”MORE NEWS: Thieves Litter Train Tracks With Family Mementos
As the new variant rapidly spreads amongst residents, the Department of Public Health is urging people to postpone their non-essential gatherings.