There’s a different holiday rush underway right now and it's for COVID-19 tests.
Many people are looking to get tested for COVID-19 before gathering with friends and family in the coming weeks.
After landing at Bradley International Airport on Saturday, Marnie McKay and her mother made their first stop to get tested for COVID-19.
“We’ve been traveling and I want this precaution. My mother lives in an assisted living facility so it’s a good idea to get tested,” said McKay.
The airport offers a convenient option, especially when many are finding it difficult to find a spot with openings.
“I was just earlier today trying to get tests at the pharmacies and they were all four and five days out,” said McKay.
Testing demand has spiked, including here in Connecticut.
On Sunday, there was a long line of cars waiting to get COVID-tested at the Brass Mill Center Mall in Waterbury.
One person traveling said there were long lines in New York ahead of the holidays.
“I always say 'better safe than sorry,'” said Dr. Sharon Stoll, a Yale Medicine neuroimmunologist.
Stoll said it’s usually best to test within 72 hours of an event.
“If you're gathering with a large group of people or people whose vaccine status you don't know, it's always better to test yourself. And if you're hosting it, it's great to have them for family and friends as well,” said Dr. Stoll.
Dr. Stoll says if you can find them at your local pharmacies, rapid antigen tests are a good bet. You can get your results in about 10 to 15 minutes.
“There's a slightly higher chance of getting what's called a false positive with the rapid at-home tests, meaning there's a chance you could be negative, but the test comes back positive, and if that's the case, you can always confirm your results with the PCR test,” said Dr. Stoll.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced that Americans who have private health insurance will be eligible for full reimbursement for at-home tests, though it’s unclear when it will kick in and more details are not expected to be released until next month.
Testing is just another part of the precautions at this stage of the pandemic, which also includes social distancing and getting vaccinated.
“If you've gotten your booster, you're ahead of the curve as they say, and you're not even planning to get together with that many people, just with how many asymptomatic cases there are, it is a good time just to get tested,” said Dr. Stoll.
Dr. Stoll also says it’s also a good idea to get tested after coming in contact with someone with COVID-19 or having been to a large event.