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San Diego County Opens New COVID-19 Testing Sites As Demand Surges Amid Case Spike

Juanita Cortes, a Vista resident, gets a COVID test at the Lifeline North County testing station in Vista. August 12, 2021.
Tania Thorne
Juanita Cortes, a Vista resident, gets a COVID test at the Lifeline North County testing station in Vista. August 12, 2021.

Due to an increased demand for COVID-19 testing, San Diego County has opened several new sites this week, including one Thursday at North County Lifeline in Vista.

On Tuesday, a site opened at Lemon Grove Senior Center, 8235 Mount Vernon St., open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., while on Wednesday, a site at Northgate Market San Diego, 5403 University Ave., opened and will be available for testing on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

San Diego County Opens New COVID-19 Testing Sites As Demand Surges Amid Case Spike
Listen to this story by Tania Thorne

The Vista site is located at 200 Michigan Ave. and will be open Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A fourth site, at Border View YMCA, 3601 Arey Drive, will open Sunday and be open Sundays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Juanita Cortes, a Vista resident, went to get tested at the Vista site Thursday.

She’s hesitant to get vaccinated because of the vaccine's short history.

Her brother has leukemia and is hospitalized at Scripps. In order for her to visit him, she needs to provide the hospital a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination.

“As a visitor, I haven't gotten vaccinated so I’m here today getting tested in order to test negative to be able to see him as a visitor at Scripps Greenview," she said.

She said she appreciates the hospital’s taking precautions, “It makes sense why they're being more strict. My brother has a really low immune system so it makes sense why they're being so strict… it's fair for the patients because there's some patients that are really sick in there."

What she doesn't like, is the inconvenience of having to provide a negative test every 3 days. in order to visit her brother.

“For me it's really upsetting because I'm not sure if its now forcing me to get vaccinated or be getting tested frequently in order to go see him because we do visit him often," said Cortes.

All of the new testing sites are in response to a striking surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the county, the vast majority of which have occurred in the unvaccinated.

"In late July, we started to see a significant increase in demand for COVID-19 testing," said Denise Foster, the county's chief nursing officer and COVID-19 clinical director. "In response to the need, we quickly identified several new sites to increase capacity."

In addition to these new sites, the county opened six others last week, bringing the daily testing capacity to about 6,500 tests each day. Testing is also widely available through pharmacies and other medical providers, with hospital emergency departments primarily for those symptomatic and in need of immediate care. Test results generally come back in about one to two days.

For a complete list of COVID-19 testing locations, go to coronavirus-sd.com/testing.

VIDEO: San Diego County Opens New COVID-19 Testing Sites As Demand Surges Amid Case Spike