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Sacramento County closes all COVID-19 testing sites due to Thanksgiving holiday weekend

Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Peter Beilenson said most people were not planning to get tested on Thanksgiving.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — South Sacramento Christian Center is usually packed with 500 to 1,000 people showing up to get a COVID-19 test, but the parking lot on Friday was empty because the testing site was closed for Thanksgiving weekend. 

Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Peter Beilenson said most people were not planning to get tested on Thanksgiving.

"We have a large capacity to serve people every day, Monday through Friday. Beilenson said. "We've been serving lots of people as the surge increases without any real problem. 

Beilenson said if someone needs a test while sites are closed, they could visit their personal doctor, a hospital or a pharmacy.  

"Serious conditions, they should go to the emergency room if they have moderate symptoms," Beilenson said. "You can recover at home. Call your doctor to check in with him or her."

 A CVS, which is about four minutes away from the South Sacramento testing site, only takes 20 to 25 appointments a day and is completely booked Friday and the day after, said the pharmacist on duty. 

Peggy Iredia waited 30 minutes in line at CVS to get a COVID-19 test. Iredia said she had to book her appointment two days out to secure her spot. 

"It was hard. It was hard to find because everybody is open, but there’s no appointments on Thanksgiving and no appointment today," Iredia said. 

Iredia said she needs a test because travel insurance would not pay for it. She was hoping for county testing sites to be open during the holiday but settled for an appointment with CVS that cost her most than $100. 

Bielenson's focus is on flipping COVID -19 testing sites into vaccination centers. He said that by December, first responders, front line workers, and nursing home patients will be able to get vaccinated in Sacramento County.  

WATCH MORE: U.S. Supreme Court sides with New York religious organizations over coronavirus restrictions dispute