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Omicron variant spurs rush to get tested as kids return to school and parents return to the office

Lines wrapped around the building at one testing site in Davis Sunday.

DAVIS, Calif. — With holidays ending, people going back to the office, and kids are going back to school Monday. As a result, the highly contagious omicron variant has people rushing to get tested.

Most testing sites in Sacramento County closed Sunday, but in Yolo County, lines wrapped around the building. 

Staff members at Healthy Davis Together said the lines were long with delta, and then omicron came along right during the holidays. It proved to be a recipe for long lines. 

"Since Dec. 27, Healthy Yolo Together performed more than 15,500 COVID-19 tests in Yolo County with a positivity rate of up to 6%. Compared with the same time period last month, Healthy Yolo Together conducted half as many tests with a positivity rate of less than 1%," said a spokesperson with Healthy Yolo Together. 

RELATED: Fauci: CDC mulling COVID test requirement to 5-day isolation for asymptomatic

Matthew Wise and his family were exposed to COVID over the holidays and spent the morning in line to get tested. 

"Omicron wasn't something we were expecting around Thanksgiving time," Wise said,  "and so, I think it looks like it's really changed the equation everywhere in our community and across the country -- across the world."

His kids go back to school Monday. 

"We don't want to expose anyone else in their classrooms or in the community," he said. 

Dominique Bouza easily found a silver lining while waiting in the long line. 

"It's actually good to see people being aware and knowing that there's a service of Healthy Davis Together,” she said.

Mao Vang is the health program manager at La Familia. They partner with the County of Sacramento to provide tests.

“Testing is so important due to various reasons," Vang said. "I mean, we've definitely known that omicron variant is here, you know. We're gathering with our family and friends, you know. Many of our younger folks are not vaccinated yet. They cannot; a lot of folks are immunocompromised.”

Anyone wondering if they should get tested, ABC10 health expert Dr. Payal Kohli said there are three main categories of people who need one.

"One is somebody who's traveled, so a potential exposure. The second is someone who's actually been exposed to somebody who tested positive for COVID-19 and then the third is anyone who may have symptoms," Dr. Kohli said. 

In Yolo County, cases have gone up 46% in the last two weeks. In Sacramento County, cases have more than doubled between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The omicron variant has now been reported in the region’s largest counties including Sacramento, San Joaquin and Stanislaus.

RELATED: Antiviral COVID pills heading to Yolo County pharmacies


Experts say worst of omicron cases won't hit California because of high vaccination rates

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