People wait in line for COVID-19 tests at the Curative testing site at the Berkeley Adult School on Dec. 21, 2021. Credit: Nico Savidge Credit: Nico Savidge

Berkeley is closing its COVID-19 testing sites in February as California’s State of Emergency is set to expire by the end of the month.

The testing site at Harold Way closed Feb. 1 and the city’s second site at San Pablo Park will close Feb. 23.

The closures in Berkeley come as testing centers across the state shut their doors, with additional funds drying up and demand for in-person testing declining. Other testing sites in the region closed months ago, such as the Test the People sites in Oakland.

Berkeley residents can access PCR tests through health care providers, as well as through CVS and Walgreens pharmacies, and rapid tests can, at least for now, be ordered by mail through USPS.

Berkeley Unified also announced it would close its COVID-19 testing site at the Berkeley Adult School due to diminishing demand. The site, which provided proctored rapid antigen tests for much of the pandemic, will close after Thursday, Feb. 16. Students and staff will still be able to request tests after an exposure.

COVID-19 rates are relatively low in Alameda County, following a peak in November 2022, according to county wastewater data.

Test positivity rates remain low in Berkeley, but with fewer PCR tests available and fewer people getting them, the test positivity rates provide limited information. In Berkeley Unified, 123 people tested positive for COVID-19 in January, roughly on par with the number of cases reported to the school district each month this school year.

COVID-19 wastewater levels from February 2022 to February 2023 in Alameda County. Source: California Department of Public Health.

Ally Markovich, who covers the school beat for Berkeleyside, is a former high school English teacher. Her work has appeared in The Oaklandside, The New York Times, Huffington Post and Washington Post,...