Growing demand for San Francisco coronavirus testing sites as cases surge, holidays approach

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The spike in COVID-19 cases is rising the demand for testing here in the Bay Area is increasing too -- but some testing sites are reaching capacity. One neighborhood advocate is calling for more testing sites to handle the load.

Across California, the demand for novel coronavirus testing is high. In Los Angeles, hundreds waited for hours in their cars for a COVID-19 test, the lines grew longer into the night.

Likewise in the Bay Area, some could wait days to get an appointment.

Currently, there are 19 city-run coronavirus testing sites in San Francisco including one at Pier 30 on the Embarcadero.

RELATED: Appointments for COVID-19 tests before Thanksgiving hard to come by
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Traveling this Thanksgiving is not advised. However, if you are, and need a coronavirus test before Thanksgiving, it might be too late.

"The lines are getting longer and longer," said Jon Jocobo.

Jacobo is the Health Committee chairman from the Latino Task Force. He says demand is high at a test site in the Mission district. Recently, 500 people are getting tested every day.

"We are here to serve the Latino community but not exclusively, we'll take care of those folks who show up and need that test," Jocobo added.

He believes the city needs more testing sites.

"We need more low barrier test sites, easy access, walk up in areas where we're seeing an increase in cases," said Jocobo.

RELATED: Bay Area health officials consider 14-day self-quarantine after traveling outside the area

Dr. Naveena Bobba says, "San Francisco currently does more testing than any city in the country."

More than 5,000 tests per day but many who are lining up, are not all high priority.

"It's for people exposed or who have symptoms or essential workers. If people have other reasons to get tested, they should call their primary care physician," Bobba added.

Those other reasons include traveling for the holidays.

"We strongly discourage use of city resources for travel purposes," she said.

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

The city has closed one testing site in the SOMA neighborhood but plans to open a new site on Alemany Boulevard next week. Learn more about testing in San Francisco here.

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