Demand for COVID-19 testing increases in SoCal as omicron fears intensify

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Monday, December 20, 2021
Demand for COVID testing increases in SoCal amid omicron fears
The increase comes amid concern over the spread of the omicron variant in the region.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The demand for COVID-19 testing has increased in Southern California as Christmas Day approaches, prompting more clinics to open. The increase comes amid concern over the spread of the omicron variant in the region.

Long lines formed at Dodger Stadium Monday as many tried to get tested before gathering with family for the holidays.

Jamil Sabbagh with Curative, a COVID diagnostic company with more 16,000 testing sites nationwide, said an additional 20 testing sites by Curative have opened in Los Angeles over the last handful of weeks, such as Dodger Stadium.

"A couple of the big notables, we've got a site back at Dodger Stadium, which is accepting about a thousand patients per day currently," Sabbagh said. "We're working on scaling that up as well."

Curative also has testing sites at UC Riverside and at Standbridge University in Irvine.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the omicron variant appears to be overtaking all other COVID-19 variants, calling it "something to be reckoned with."

Officials with Curative say their medical teams are undergoing 65,000 tests per day across the country and those numbers are increasing rapidly.

"Curative has actually gone from about 30 testing sites back in July to now over 110 active testing sites specifically in Southern California," Sabbagh said. "We've seen about a 100% jump from last Monday to this Monday, currently collected about 50,000 tests right now."

Sabbagh says most Curative sites do accept walk-ins, but it's recommended to make an appointment ahead of time.

The uptick in testing demand comes as the omicron variant took only a few weeks to live up to dire predictions about how hugely contagious it is but scientists don't yet know if it causes more severe disease even as the world faces exploding cases just before Christmas.

Omicron now is the dominant variant in the U.S., federal health officials said Monday, accounting for about three-quarters of new infections last week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.