WASHINGTON - Some COVID-19 testing sites in western Washington have closed for the day on Monday after reaching full capacity as demand for testing increases.
The testing site at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup opened for the first time on Monday and closed down the same day when it reached full capacity.
Around 2:45 p.m., the Puyallup Police Department said that there was a three-hour wait to get tested at the fairgrounds. Several minutes later, the police department tweeted that the location would close for the day due to being full.
The testing site at the Fairgrounds will open again on Tuesday.
Pierce County opened the testing site citing high demand for tests as the state sees a surge in COVID cases.
Similarly, in Seattle, testing sites at Seattle Public Schools closed on Monday due to reaching full capacity.
School was canceled for SPS students and staff on Monday to allow for rapid antigen COVID testing. Testing was taking place at 12 middle school locations and closed at 3:30 p.m. due to the amount of people at the sites.
The district offered testing as students returned from winter break. Testing is highly encouraged, the district said, but not required to return to school.
Additional testing will be available for students throughout next week at each school site with parent consent.
Washington state has seen an increase in COVID testing as the Omicron variant creates a surge of cases. That, along with the end of the holiday season and the start of schools for the new year has greatly increased demand for testing.
On Sunday, the demand was so great in Pierce County, the line at the Lakewood testing site closed at 4 p.m., even though the actual testing site does not close until 5:30 pm. The site was also closed as of 2:45 p.m. on Monday.
According to the Washington State Department of Health, the state of Washington is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases, and transmission is expected to rise in the coming weeks.
While it is still too early to tell how much of the increase is due to Omicron, epidemiologists with the DOH say that Omicron prevalence is increasing and is most likely the dominant strain.
Despite a recent increase in testing around the holidays, public health officials say the increase in new cases significantly outpaces the increase in testing. The number of cases is expected to continue to increase through the new year.
If you have an appointment for testing or plan on being a ‘walk-in,' make sure you check ahead to see if your location is closed.
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