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With Holiday Festivities, Many Flock To Get COVID-19 Testing

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With the Omicron COVID-19 variant surging and many spending quality time with loved ones this past Christmas, some people are flocking to get a COVID test.

CBS 2's Shardaa Gray went to at least a dozen testing sites in the downtown area and saw various lines. Coworkers also reported long lines in the suburbs.

Many of those tested Sunday were anxious to get results.

"We're traveling to some of our friends in California. Although we're completely vaccinated, we wanted to make sure it's negative," said Scott Jafarain.

"All four of our girls came in and two of them tested positive," said Joselle Ulin.

Whether you're heading on vacation or just had family members visiting, getting tested is likely the first thing on your mind.

Joselle Ulin said one of her daughters, who lives in Virginia, spent two hours with them, the test came back positive, and she drove back home.

"Our other daughter lives in Georgia, and she tested positive on Christmas Eve. They were in the middle of opening presents. They went to the basement and drove home."

She said she has gotten both vaccines, as well as the booster. And had COVID a few months ago.

"I don't want to get it again. The [CDC] guidelines are our guidelines, but we want to be proactive and make sure everybody we come in contact with are safe," Ulin said.

So we asked Rush Hospital's Dr. Elizabeth Davis, medical director of community health equity, why you should wait if you're in a situation like Ulin.

"If you were exposed, lets say yesterday, and you test today, your test may come back negative, but it would be a false negative because there would just be too soon for the test to pick up the COVID," she said.

But if you're showing symptoms, whether you've been exposed or not, and even a simple runny nose, soar throat, headache, she said get tested.

"Get tested. And you can get tested through home test, through PCR test, like a pharmacy or a clinic, there's many options of where to get tested," she said.

So you're probably saying to yourself, at home test or site testing are hard to come by.

Dr. Davis said Rush Hospital started an initiative with Esperanza Health Centers, partnering with the Chicago Department of Public Health to give you the option of at home testing kits. The PCR test is FedExed to you, you FedEx it overnight and get results within four days, which Davis said fits into the time lag of being exposed.

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