Hayward COVID-19 testing site slammed with patients, forced to cut off line and close early

Julian Glover Image
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

The city of Hayward's coronavirus testing site on the California State University East Bay campus continues to see an influx of people seeking tests.

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- The city of Hayward's coronavirus testing site on the California State University East Bay campus continues to see an influx of people seeking tests. On Tuesday, so many people showed up that the drive-up line was closed off shortly after noon.

When the city's coronavirus testing center moved from Fire Station No. 7 to Cal State East Bay's campus in early April, Hayward Fire Chief Garrett Contreras said the site tested between 220 to 300 people a day. On Monday, Contreras said nearly 500 tests were performed.

LIST: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the San Francisco Bay Area?

The line was shut down around 2 p.m. Staff worked past the site's 4 p.m. close time until after 5 p.m. to accommodate the additional patients waiting in line.

Tuesday morning, the lines were so long that, by 12:30 p.m., workers had to stop additional cars from entering the drive-up line so people wouldn't be left waiting and so the site could shut down on time.

Contreras told ABC7 News by phone that over the last two weeks, there has been a constant uptick in the number of people seeking to get tested.

VIDEO: What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?

On Wednesday, more staffing was brought in to handle the high demand.

When coronavirus testing centers first opened up in the Bay Area in March, limited lab testing capacity was the issue. Testing centers were limited to 100 to 200 tests a day given how quickly labs could process test results and pass them on to patients. Now, there's a different problem.

"The labs can handle as many test as we send to them. Physical space and manpower are the issues," said Contreras.

The state of California continues to shatter daily coronavirus testing numbers and, as a result, an alarming number of new cases are being reported.

As the demand for testing increases, Contreras said the city is exploring ways to make the site more efficient, including the possibility of converting the Hayward site from a first come, first served to appointment only.

The site is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located in Lot A of the Cal State University East Bay Campus. It will remain closed Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day on Saturday.

Contreras added while the site is scheduled to close July 31, the city is currently working with partner organizations to extend testing at the site for as long as needed in the community. Renewing the site on a monthly bases is taxing logistically.

There are also talks about potentially adding a "second shift" to allow people to come and get tested after they get off work. Again, staffing is an issue.

COVID-19 RISK CALCULATOR: Quiz yourself on the safest, most dangerous things you can do as CA reopens

If there's a silver lining, it's that the positivity rate of coronavirus test at the site has remained steady at about 8%, Contreras said.

In Alameda County there have been 5,964 coronavirus cases to date and 135 deaths.

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here