Demand for COVID testing grows once again

While health officials continue to push for vaccinations, testing has become equally as important. The demand for testing has increased, which has at the time led to increased wait times.

"Our numbers were down when we thought that the COVID season was over. They went down to about 50 a day. We were still a strong site. But now, they’re up to 300 and climbing," said Lawrence VanHook.

VanHook is pastor at Community Christian Church on 34th Street in West Oakland, which is also the site of a vaccination and testing center that’s available to members of the community.

"I have a sore throat and I’m vaccinated but I’m concerned because of the delta variant," said Bridgette Cervelli.

The Oakland resident told KTVU on Wednesday that concern for her parents is also the reason that chooses to get them tested.

"I work at a summer camp and two of the kids tested positive so just to take precaution and make sure my family is okay, I came to get tested," said Nalini Salvekar.

There’s real data to back up what many are witnessing at testing sites.

Johns Hopkins University has been tracking the increase in testing that began last month. 

Dr. Peter Chin Hong, an infectious disease specialist at UCSF, says that testing is very important as it is no longer easy for clinicians to differentiate between a common cold or the coronavirus, an important factor in slowing the spread.

"You need it to distinguish who needs to be isolated and who can just go about their regular business," said Dr. Chin-Hong.

In Sonoma County, the health department reports that: "In the two weeks from June 22 to July 5, the DHS Field Services team administered 572 tests. From July 6 to July 19, DHS testing more than doubled to 1150 tests. In the last single week for which the county has data, from July 20 to July 26, the team administered 1,054 tests in just seven days."

Health officials announced on Tuesday that the department has partnered with four providers to administer more COVID-19 tests to meet the rising demand.