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San Diegans face long lines at COVID testing sites

Long lines at San Diego testing sites were common Thursday with wait times reaching over two hours in some cases.

SAN DIEGO — “We have seen a significant increase in the number of people that are testing, but actually we think that’s the right thing to do, "said Dr. William Tseng. “It’s the smart thing to do.”

Many San Diegans are getting tested for COVID-19 as they prepare for family holiday gatherings. Long lines at testing sites were common Thursday at places like the City Heights Recreation Center where a line of nearly 80 people wrapped around the building and down the block with some people waiting for an hour-and-a-half to get tested.

“We want people to be able to get together in the holidays but we want them to do it safely so that they don’t end up infecting any family members,” said Dr. Tseng. “By doing that, by finding out, you’re protecting your loved ones, promoting a safe family gathering environment.”

Dr. William Tseng is the Vaccine Lead for Kaiser Permanente, and he said they’ve seen an increase in lines for their drive-thru testing. Wait times at the drive-thru line at Kaiser Permanente in La Mesa were over two hours.

“When you drive through, they do a nasal testing,” said Dr. Tseng.  “And everybody’s gowned up in protective gear.”

Dr. Tseng recommended getting tested 3-4 days after exposure when using the PCR tests commonly used at county testing sites.

“That’s when, if it does infect you, it’s going to start replicating and spreading,” said Dr. Tseng. “So if you test too early, you’re going to get a false negative.”

At-home tests have been hard to find at stores. Most nationwide chains are now limiting the number people can buy, both in stores and online.

For the most up-to-date information on testing site locations and whether appointments are required, check the county’s website or call 211.

WATCH RELATED: Pharmacies quickly sell out of home COVID rapid tests for holiday gatherings


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