Long wait time for COVID testing, limited testing supplies add to frustration in North Bay

"I thought it would be shorter. I didn't know I would be standing in the rain either."
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- The demand for COVID-19 testing in the North Bay is leading to long lines and shortages of test kits, it's becoming a frustrating situation. Many healthcare workers are feeling overwhelmed.

"I thought it would be shorter. I didn't know I would be standing in the rain either," said Thomas Connelly.

Connelly needed a COVID test, but didn't expect that would mean standing in the rain for more than two hours outside Roseland Community Center in Santa Rosa. It's the only test site in Sonoma County accepting walk-ins. Camelia Patino found that out the hard way.

"This is the third testing site I went to today. One of them wasn't accepting walk-ins, the other was closed because someone had COVID," said Patino.

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Time lapse video showed how long the line for testing really was.

"We had 700 yesterday, 750 the day before," said Maggie Gondola.

Gondola works for Fox Home Health, contracted by the county to do testing, but demand is overtaking supply.

"I ordered a bunch of testing supplies, but they have been very slow all over the state I guess," she said.

She's trying not to turn anyone away.

"Right now, we have twenty people out diagnosed with COVID," said Natalie Cilurzo.

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The City of Fremont saw major traffic impacts as parents waited for hours to get free at-home COVID test kits.

Russian River Brewing co-owner Natalie Cilurzo was forced to temporarily close her two brewpubs this week due to lack of staffing. She says the county needs more testing sites.

"The lack of testing has been crippling businesses, employees can't get a test in a timely manner and test results aren't coming back in a timely manner," Cilurzo said.

"Our cases have tripled in the last three weeks," said Sonoma County spokesperson Paul Gullixson.

Sonoma County's COVID positivity rate is the highest its ever been at 15 percent. Officials say they are trying add more testing sites, but they are trying to secure more testing supplies.

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For now, their advice:

"If you can put off getting a test, please do so," Gullixson added.

Meantime, Russian River Brewing is using their own home test kits until testing appointments become available.

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