PLEASANTON (KPIX) — Eight months into the pandemic and people are still wondering why they are having so much trouble getting tested.
Test sites like the one at the Alameda County Fairgrounds are requesting only essential workers and people who have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 be tested.
Doctors say the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 is how fast you can get someone a test and get an answer to them but right now the supply and access is limited. That may change, though.
Tiffany Flores drove 51 miles to get a COVID-19 test with no luck since the test site had already closed. She works for Amazon and has been off work. She says she was in contact with a relative who tested positive.
“I feel like I’m hitting a dead end because I have only three days to get tested to clear my name for work and I can’t even do that,” said Flores.
Since testing is such a key element to stopping the spread access should be easier, not harder. KPIX asked a lead epidemiologist in the Bay Area and an infectious disease doctor why.
Dr. John Swartzburg is an infectious disease specialist.
“We will get better but it’s not going to happen with this administration because this administration has failed us in regards to testing,” said Dr. Swartzburg.
UCSF epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford said the answer for those trying to get tested is to take the high priority cases right now.
“We jump people to top of the lines who are symptomatic and we jump people to the top of the lines who have known contacts of people that have been infected. So those are the people at the highest priority,” said Dr. Rutherford.
But that is easier said than done for Flores.
“Very hard, I can’t get ahold of anybody. Unfortunately, I don’t have a private doctor,” she said.
The year 2021 may prove there is light at the end of tunnel according to Rutherford.
“In the future what we would like to have is something like a home pregnancy test where the answer comes out as a different color or indicator line or something like that,” said Rutherford.
Dr. Swartzburg agrees.
“I think within the first quarter of 2021 we should really see a lot of the testing become more available to the consumer and that’s what really has to happen.”