OAKLAND (CBS SF) — One of the most in demand Christmas gifts this year just might be a rapid COVID test as new cases of the omicron variant surge across the San Francisco Bay Area.
On Christmas Eve, many East Bay residents were scrambling to get tested before their holiday family gatherings on Saturday.READ MORE: UPDATE: Crews Make Progress in Big Sur Firefight; Containment at 35 Percent
But that proved to be very challenging as Bay Area drug stores were sold out of the rapid home test kits and most county and state-run test sites were closed.
About 50 to 60 people waited in front of Friendship Christian Church in West Oakland Friday morning for the pop-up site to open. According to the Alameda County website, the church was one of just two locations open for testing in the entire county.
But that proved to be bad information. Like most other East Bay test sites, the church was closed. Most people in line left by 12:30 p.m. when the doors failed to open.
“It’s just really disappointing, honestly,” said Oakland resident Carissa Pierotti, who had waited hours in the line.
“Standing in line on a cold day with a bunch of people is not actually what you want to do,” said Oakland resident Rebecca, who declined to provide a last name.
Rebecca, her husband, and their infant daughter were among the folks hoping to get a PCR test at the church. Their babysitter spent three hours in their home earlier this week and just tested positive for COVID.
“We’ll quarantine for 14 days and see if there’s any symptoms and just try and keep on attempting to get a PCR test, but definitely (we) had to cancel plans for any family gathering,” said Rebecca.READ MORE: Big Sur Residents Told to Boil Water Due to Possible Wildfire Damage to Utility
Many people who waited in the line plan to do the same, cancel their Christmas plans if they can’t get a test.
“We will most likely just be doing drop-bys and dropping off presents, it looks like, which is fine,” Pierotti said. “Rather to be safe than sorry.”
Pierotti said the church was her last hope after failing to buy a home test kit this week.
“Everything has been sold out, San Leandro, Hayward, all of Oakland,” she said. “I’ve been calling Walmart, CVS, everything.”
“We’re Kaiser patients and the first COVID test that was available was December 29th,” said Alameda resident Beth Dillin, who was also waiting in line.
“I am frustrated because there’s a rise in cases,” said Oakland resident Karen Baka. ” Now with the holidays and people are gathering, there’s no place to get the test.”
Baka said she has a light headache and was recently exposed to an infected person. That was her reason to get tested before attending a Christmas gathering.MORE NEWS: Hazardous Sneaker Waves Threaten San Francisco Beachcombers
“We’ll probably cancel,” she said. “We’ll probably have to cancel or try and keep away from everybody.”