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

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

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

With the new testing site open, they have been conducting rapid and PCR tests on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

As soon as they opened, the testing site was full. For added convenience, the testing is drive-thru only and located in a parking lot by the main entrance of the Nacogdoches Civic Center.

“So we’ve seen a little bit of a rise in cases for the last week and a half or so,” said Tara Triana, the Nacogdoches County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Our highest case count that we received from the State of Texas was on Jan. 14. We’ve noticed and had people reach out with a need to get more testing and we are here offering another option.”

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

“I know the numbers have been out of the normal in the past couple of months because it kind of slowed down, but now it just spiked out of nowhere because of the new variant Omicron,” said Gilbert.

To avoid the shortages of testing kits in-stores and while some are waiting for free home tests from the government to be delivered.

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

If you are in need of getting tested, a PCR test takes 24 to 72 hours and a rapid test will take up to 2.5 hours to receive results.

To avoid future shortages of testing kits in stores, test workers are highly recommending to just drive up for testing. This makes it easier for you and keeps our community safe.