NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KETK) — Nacogdoches Emergency Management opened a new testing site at the Civic Center on Thursday in an effort to stay ahead of demand.

As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreads, more people have chosen to get tested.

“People just think it’s allergies, which is why it’s so easy to catch. People are going out without masks and walking around,” said Dakota Gilbert, COVID-19 tester.

With the opening of the new testing site, they conducted rapid and PCR tests on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

As soon as they opened, the test site was full. For convenience, testing is drive-through only and located in a parking lot near the main entrance to the Nacogdoches Civic Center.

“So we’ve seen a slight increase in cases over the last week and a half or so,” said Tara Triana, Nacogdoches County emergency management coordinator. “Our highest case count we’ve received from the state of Texas was on January 14. We’ve noticed and asked people to contact us for more testing and we’re offering another option here.”

Dozens of people have been admitted to hospital in the Lufkin and Nacogdoches areas fighting the Omicron variant.

“I know the numbers have been out of the norm for the past two months because they kind of slowed down, but now they’ve come out of nowhere because of the new Omicron variant,” Gilbert said.

To avoid shortages of test kits in stores and while some wait for free government home tests to be delivered.

“If you have any symptoms, whether it’s a sniffy nose, allergies, whatever. Get tested! You never know, especially right now, it could be the flu or it could be COVID-19,” Gilbert said.

If you need to get tested, a PCR test takes 24-72 hours and a rapid test will take up to 2.5 hours to receive results.

To avoid future shortages of test kits in stores, testers strongly recommend driving in for testing. This makes it easier for you and keeps our community safe.

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