By Da Lin

SAN PABLO (KPIX) — There weren’t too many COVID-19 test sites that were opened on Sunday. Those that were saw a lot of traffic. The high demand for testing means fewer available appointments at county-run sites across the Bay Area.

In Contra Costa County, for example, the earliest appointments for most locations will be after the Christmas holiday.

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There was a consistent line at the San Pablo Davis Park test site right up until they closed at 4 p.m.

“Nothing from tomorrow through, I think, the end of the year pretty much was available on the Contra Costa County health website,” said El Cerrito resident Jeffrey Gilliland.

Gilliland said he was lucky to get an appointment at the Davis Park site.

“I have family coming into town for the holidays and we’re all trying to get tested so that we can gather together, you know, inside and outside, just to have as much flexibility as possible and … spend the holidays together,” Gilliland said.

Health officials are asking people to avoid gathering with others outside their immediate household but some who spoke with KPIX said that health order is not realistic.

“We decided as a family this is a sacrifice that we’re comfortable making,” Gilliland said. “But we’re going to stay very contained within our bubble.”

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“I know that I’m taking a risk, technically, but getting tested here today is my way of preventing that risk,” said Adrianna, who declined to provide her last name.

Adrianna said she hasn’t seen her grandmother in several months. She plans to have dinner with her.

“I’m going to be seeing my mom and grandmother for Christmas so I just want to make sure I’m negative of course. My grandmother is 90,” Adrianna said.

Health experts worry the test will provide a false sense of safety. They say people could get a negative result if the coronavirus is incubating in their system.

“We were going to do something for Christmas, me and my family,” said Richmond resident Gerardo Cervantes, who was getting tested because he had a fever. “Because I’m feeling ill, I have to stay in quarantine.”

“My daughter was exposed to Covid and then after she was OK. Then I started having a sore throat so I decided to get tested just to make sure I’m OK,” said San Pablo resident Oscar Terrazas.

“I’ve got a sore throat yesterday and a bit of a headache and, certainly, concerning my wife … I figured I better come down and get tested just for peace of mind,” said El Cerrito resident Chris Morrissey.

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Health officials said that, for the folks who are sick and can’t get an appointment, most sites will test them without one.