Once again COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the state of California, and the Central Coast is no exception.
"We had three days last week where we were at 100 or more cases and that has taken our 14 day average up considerably from where it was before the Christmas holiday," said Michelle Shoresman, San Luis Obispo County Public Health COVID-19 Response Media Liaison.
With holiday travel in full swing and the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, this spike in cases is not unexpected.
"We're not surprised to see increases, we probably won't be surprised to see more increases," said Shoresman.
Public health officials recommend getting tested for COVID-19 both before and after attending a gathering, saying it's best to know before you go.
"When they come back from any gathering to test again 3-5 days after exposure to people outside your household," said Shoresman.
In Santa Barbara County, Lompoc Valley Medical Center is also seeing an increase in COVID patients.
"We are seeing an uptick in the numbers. We are seeing more people coming into the ED for COVID-like symptoms and we are admitting more people for COVID," said Dr. Naishadh Buch, Lompoc Valley Medical Center Chief Operations Officer.
Those seeking treatment seem to have one thing in common.
"The vast majority of COVID cases that we are seeing are among the unvaccinated population," said Buch.
A reminder about the importance of getting vaccinated.
"We do get some who have been vaccinated, but those are usually patients who have underlying conditions or co-morbid conditions," said Buch.
Pharmacist Bhargav Shah says more and more people are looking for an at-home, rapid COVID-19 test.
"Being a community pharmacy, we want to do whatever we can to help our community," said Bhargav Shah, Best Care Pharmacy Pharmacist.
Pharmacists say they sold out of COVID-19 tests in a matter of hours after restocking, leaving them with empty boxes and customers still in search of a COVID-19 test.
"We got a new shipment around 3 or 4 o'clock yesterday and then we sold out maybe a couple of hours ago," said Shah.
Shah added that Best Care Pharmacy is working with more than one source to see if they can get more COVID-19 tests to address the needs of the community, but does not know the exact date at which the tests will become available.
If you are in search of a COVID-19 test, San Luis Obispo County Public Health is hosting a COVID-19 testing event this Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Atascadero Lake Park. The event is free and open to the public. No appointments are necessary and walk-ins are welcome.