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SAN DIEGO – Most people have lengthy to-do lists ahead of a major holiday like Christmas. For some San Diegans, that list includes getting tested for COVID-19 prior to the holiday weekend.

On a rainy Thursday, long lines were seen extending a great distance outside the City Heights Recreation Center as people gathered to be tested for the virus.

“Got here at 10:30 and the line was like two blocks all the way down,” said Maritza McEvoy, who was getting tested with her daughter.

McEvoy said they waited about an hour to get tested. But she says it’s a necessary step before the holiday.

“We were going to be together as a family,” McEvoy said, “but now my sister’s tested positive, that’s canceled. Very concerning the numbers are going up again.”

In San Diego County, public health officials Thursday reported 2,336 new COVID-19 cases and eight additional deaths associated with the virus. It comes as fears are growing over the spread of the omicron variant nationwide, leading to new public health restrictions, canceled major sporting events and even some frustration for many as the pandemic marches into its third calendar year.

And with the growing spread of omicron, county health officials are urging people to do whatever they can to stay healthy.

“We need to continue to mask up, especially in crowded indoor spaces,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, “and I urge anyone who has not gotten vaccinated, or is overdue for their booster shot, to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

At the Lemon Grove Senior Center, more people lined up for last-minute COVID testing before Christmas. Del Cerro resident Georgina Flores said, holidays aside, getting tested hasn’t been easy.

“A lot of the testing sites that were local, even near SDSU or USD – they kind of shut down,” Flores said. “It’s been a matter of just trying to find out what’s around, what’s close by. It seems like they’re getting more pushed out, becoming less and less available.”

Many waiting in line said they would’ve preferred taking an at-home test. But those are hard to find right now. Many pharmacies have purchase limits or have run out.

“I’m not sure if I feel 100% that I can trust those – so I wanted to do this test — maybe try the other one if I don’t get the results for this one soon enough,” said Sylvia Guzman, who got tested with her daughter.

Click or tap here to see no-cost COVID-19 testing sites in San Diego County.

City News Service contributed to this report.