Monterey County COVID-19 testing sites have been flooded with lines of people, and many are testing positive for the virus.
On Wednesday, health officials announced that the county had reached a new pandemic all-time high case rate: 108.6 per 100,000 residents, surpassing the Jan. 9, 2021 case rate of 107.8 per 100,000.
“This shows how prevalent COVID-19 is in our community, how efficiently the Omicron variant is spreading, and that masking, social distancing, and other protective measures remain critical for all of us,” Monterey County Health Department officials stated in a press release.
Monterey County lab confirmed COVID-19 cases were at 58,827, up 2,288. There are currently 103 people with COVID-19 hospitalized and 656 people in the county have died due to COVID-19 complications.
While the case rates hit a new record high, hospitalizations are at half of where they were during last winter’s surge, and the deaths are less than a quarter of where they were at that same time.
County officials suggest that resident get vaccinated in order to stem the tide of hospitalizations.
This week, Americans were able to order free coronavirus tests on the new federal government website. While COVIDTests.gov was expected to start accepting orders on Wednesday, an "Order free at-home tests" button was added Tuesday, which brings users to usps.com/covidtests to order four at-home free tests.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki the site is in its beta phase to allow troubleshooting.
“We can’t guarantee there won’t be a bug or two,” Psaki said, “but the best tech teams across the administration and the Postal Service are working hard to make this a success.”
USA TODAY tested the site and got a message that "COVID-19 tests will start shipping in late January." The Postal Service will only send one set of four free at-home coronavirus tests to valid residential addresses.
David Rodriguez is the education reporter and staff photographer for The Salinas Californian. For any tips or story ideas, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to support local journalism.
This article originally appeared on Salinas Californian: Monterey County reaches a new pandemic all-time high COVID-19 case rate