LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The valley's largest drive-thru COVID-19 testing site has relocated, after a surge in demand following the holidays and before New Year's celebrations.
And once again, long lines of cars lined the streets outside the site on Sunday. After closing temporarily, it relocated from the parking lot on Paradise at the University of Nevada Las Vegas to the parking lot of Sam Boyd Stadium in the southeast valley.
Emergency Manager and Clark County Deputy Fire Chief Billy Samuels said the site at UNLV didn't have the "footprint" for the surge in demand that the county saw at the end of December.
Samuels said the Sam Boyd parking lot offers more room, and alleviates the traffic issues that were seen near UNLV where cars were lined up on University Center to Tropicana days after Christmas. He added that they are aware traffic is impacting the surrounding neighborhood.
“It’s an inconvenience for the residents that live here in these communities, and we understand that. Hopefully we can get through this surge and through this wave quickly, so we can kind of narrow down some of these sites," Samuels said.
The site at Sam Boyd plans to administer 1,200 tests and 300 vaccines nightly on a first come first served basis.
On Sunday, Samuels estimates the turnout was far greater than 1,200 people, and that the Sam Boyd site likely will be hitting its capacity for testing each night.
“We were shooting for 1,200, and I’m guessing we’re going to beat that number, just looking at the traffic behind me," Samuels said.
Samuels added that the site is short on staff.
“Any where you go, staffing is an issue. The same thing is with the [National] Guard. They’re sick as well," Samuels said. "We’ve brought out some private companies tonight to help us out because we’re actually short on the National Guard tonight, just due to unforeseen circumstances,” Samuels said.
To a question about whether the county would increase the hours of operation at the site, Samuels said they'll have to increase staff, and that's difficult to do now. He encouraged anyone who wants or needs a COVID-19 test or vaccine to visit the health district's website and look into additional options to make appointments.
“The demand is there, and obviously one site cannot handle a population of 2.5 million. We have to be realistic so we have to look at all our other community partners," Samuels said.
The Sam Boyd COVID-19 site will operate weekly, Sunday through Thursday, from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
On Sunday, the Southern Nevada Health District announced additional testing sites opening this week.