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People line up for mass COVID-19 testing from The Hill to St. Charles County

Cars lined up across the St. Louis area to get a COVID-19 test as the omicron variant's spread continues.

ST. LOUIS — A long line of red stretched across The Hill neighborhood as people wait for the green light to inch forward. Neighbors say these lines have been growing for weeks.

“It gets pretty backed up,” said Luigi Abbate.

Neighbors like Abbate have a front-row view of the long lines here twice a week for mass testing events. He actually takes comfort in the crowds because it means people are protecting themselves and their community.

“In one way it's nice to see that and then another way it's like wow too much traffic,” Abbate said.

As part of an effort to cut the wait time throughout the area, the state of Missouri partnered to reopen a clinic at the St. Charles Family Arena.

RELATED: List: COVID testing sites in the St. Louis area

People said they waited about an hour, like Michelle Larson and her 8-year-old pup Duke Pickles.

“It started with a sore throat and then my chest, it felt like an elephant was on my chest,” said Michelle Larson.

Organizers said they are administering about 1,600 tests, with one thing holding them back.

“We are capable of testing a lot more but it is a manpower issue,” said Sonny Naqui with AIM Laboratories, one of many laboratories the state has contracted to process COVID-19 tests.

That's disappointing for people like Larson.

“It's clearly like the beginning of the pandemic is starting all over again,” Larson said.

She’s now headed home where she'll avoid all crowds and await her results.

“Isolation, with this little man,” she said while gesturing to her dog.

At the Family Arena site, they said they're booking appointments by the carload, sometimes that means one or two tests, but today a van came through with ten people needing swabs.