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COVID Travel: Tests Ahead Of Holidays May Give People A False Sense Of Security

PLEASANTON (KPIX 5) -- COVID test sites have been packed around the Bay Area this week as residents rush to get swabbed before Thanksgiving, hoping to get the all clear before family gatherings.

There are many testing options around the Bay, but lately just getting the test seems to be the hard part. And when you do get tested and get your results, it doesn't mean you're in the clear next week.

Carma Cheng and her two sons got their COVID test Wednesday in the CVS drive-thru line .

"We just wanted to before the holidays, to make sure we were healthy. We plan to stay with our own family," said Cheng.

She said securing appointments meant booking them at the strike of midnight, and even then there was no guarantee.

"You had to go on at midnight three days before to book your appointment," Cheng explained. "If you waited until that morning. you weren't going to get an appointment."

Another even more unappealing option was the hours-long wait at Pleasanton's Alameda County Fairgrounds, where testing was done by 10 a.m. because the facility had already reached its 500 patient testing limit.

Dr George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at UCSF, told KPIX that testing should be ubiquitous. He thinks it should be a major priority in the new administration to make testing as widely available as possible.

He offered a holiday health warning to those who have already been tested: "To just get a single test and say, 'Okay, now we can bring the kid back from college in Wisconsin and have him meet up with grandma on Thanksgiving for six hours with no mask on.' Not a good thing," said Rutherford. "You need to be really careful about the situation."

Other Bay Area residents KPIX spoke with are exercising much more caution.

"This is our bubble," said Irma Hernandez of Pleasanton in a supermarket parking lot, motioning to her husband.

The couple plans to spend their Thanksgiving with a table set for two, even though their children and grandchildren live nearby.

"We are just going to see our kids over Zoom probably, or just talk to them over the phone. And our grandkids also and that's it," said Hernandez. "We are just going to have Thanksgiving by ourselves."

Many test sites take 48 hours to provide results. After receiving negative results, doctors say it is up to you to take precautions and stay in your bubble.

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