Long lines at South Bay COVID-19 testing centers

Some wait for hours to get tested
chula vista covid-19 testing.png
Posted at 4:08 PM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 19:18:18-05

CHULA VISTA, Calif., (KGTV) — More and more San Diegans are rushing to get tested for COVID-19, but the wait times at some South Bay locations are hours long.

Cars wrapped around the South Chula Vista Library as hundreds of people are waited to be tested for the coronavirus.

"Testing is just something that we all need to be doing regularly right now," Nancy Maldonado, CEO of the Chicano Federation, said.

Recently, the lines and wait times at the county's free testing sites have been getting longer, especially in the South Bay. Maldonado says this area is home to many Hispanic or Latino San Diegans who have front line jobs, with greater exposure to the virus.

"The other reason is the multi-generational housing, and the lack of housing here in San Diego," Maldonado explained.

At its peak, Hispanic and Latinos made up 63% of the County's infection rate, despite only being 34% of the population. Most recent statistics show that number dropped to 57.7%.

"It's still high, and it's still alarming, but we have seen that number start to come down," Maldonado said.

It's thanks to community organizations like the Chicano Foundation and the San Diego Latino Health Coalition that take away the stigma of testing. They offer resources for those who test positive, support for families, and even quarantine locations.

"There are resources available, so they don't have to stay within that household," Maldonado said.

But there are still some obstacles. There have been reports of many people going to Aquatica, not knowing about the "appointment only" system. So they are being turned away.

"A lot of the county sites are switching to 'appointment only,' but that message isn't getting out fast enough," Maldonado said.

That is why it is essential to check online before leaving your home, although making appointments is always recommended.

"It's up to all of us to make sacrifices right now and do everything we can to bring down this infection rate so we can reopen and so our small businesses don't have to keep suffering," Maldonado said.

The county is now working with community partners to set up more testing locations where there is the greatest need.