PCR test center on El Camino Center for Covid Control

A line stretched around the block for a store-front testing center proffering free PCR testing along El Camino Real last week.

COVID-related tests of all kinds are in short supply this week, with at-home rapid tests flying off local shelves as soon as they appear and shipping delays affecting many online orders. The situation remains complicated for those seeking PCR tests from a source working with a legitimate laboratory. Appointment slots are nonexistent or far in the future from many local providers.

New COVID-testing sites not affiliated with any local health-care service have started to appear, including one that was operating from a storefront on El Camino Real in Mountain View last week. There is no single official site to confirm whether a PCR test location has the relevant business and laboratory licensing to run tests, so local residents trying to discern where to turn for an urgent test are left making their own determination.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian asked county staff to address the local shortage of at-home COVID tests and formulate a plan to increase supply, scheduled for discussion at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, held after the Town Crier’s press deadline.

The city of Los Altos has coordinated with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department to offer free COVID testing

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday in the Sequoia Room of the Los Altos Community Center, 97 Hillview Ave.

To schedule a test, visit covid19.sccgov.org/covid-19-testing. When a reporter visited the site Monday, no appointments were shown as available. At other municipal pop-ups, walk-ins who tried their luck were sometimes able to take a test if the location wasn’t busy at that moment, though the policy remains appointment-only.

A city-sponsored webinar on the omicron variant and its impact on families and the community is set for 8-9 p.m. Thursday.

Los Altos resident and local family practice physician Dr. Ed Yu will provide an update on the current COVID situation and answer questions. Yu will discuss the data and research and offer a practical approach to staying safe.

To register for the event, which is hosted by Los Altos PREPARES, visit losaltosca.gov/prepares.

Have you used a PCR testing site not run by a major health-care provider? Email elizar@latc.com if you’re willing to share your experience.



Eliza Ridgeway edits the Food & Wine, Camps, Bridal, Celebrations and Beyond the Classroom sections at the Town Crier, as well as reporting for all sections of the paper.