Governor Gavin Newsom places the swab in the holder after a self-administered rapid COVID-19 test at Native American Health Center in Oakland, Calif., on Dec. 22, 2021. (Harika Maddala/ Bay City News)

Santa Cruz County will expand its COVID-19 testing capacity next week due to overwhelming demand, the county said Thursday.

With the highly contagious omicron variant driving a spike in new cases, the county said it has seen such an increase in demand that it is encouraging appointments to get tested for the virus.

Starting Monday, a mobile testing facility in Santa Cruz’s Depot Park will expand its operating hours to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

A mobile testing site will also return Monday to Mountain Community Resources in Felton, following the closure of mobile testing at the Felton Public Library on Sunday.

The testing site at Watsonville’s Ramsay Park will also double its number of testing appointments that are available each day, starting Wednesday.

Residents seeking a test are encouraged to visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting to schedule an appointment.

County residents can also visit http://www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirusvaccine for information about how to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Local information related to the pandemic can be found at http://www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus or by calling (831) 454-4242 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.