‘A test is not a Kevlar vest’: Long lines form at COVID-19 test sites as Thanksgiving approaches


(NewsNation Now) — As public health officials discourage Thanksgiving gatherings, it is apparent that a lot will still be happening in homes across America with the holiday about a week away. Many people are rushing to get tested for coronavirus now, despite health experts stressing that a negative test is not a guarantee for a coronavirus-free gathering.

It’s been especially busy at a same-day testing clinic in Venice, California. By lunchtime Wednesday, the site alone had tested more than 300 people, many with Thanksgiving plans.

 “Definitely a rush. Big. Almost doubling our days. People just really being proactive and keeping safety in mind,” Same Day Testing L.A. Site Manager Alan Pablos said.

Claire Brehm is heading to Washington, D.C. this weekend for an extended stay with her parents.

“For me, I’m trying to get out before the beginning of the holiday and think that doing all the right things the best you can is what matters and everyone gets to make the decisions that are right for them,” Brehm said.

The rush for results was evident in a big way Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium where hundreds drove through for testing.

Similar scenes in Massachusetts has Governor Charlie Baker frustrated that a lot of holiday travel is on tap.

“There’s not much at this point that we can do but say that’s not a great idea, and to urge people that if they do do that, to recognize and understand that a test is not a Kevlar vest,” Gov. Baker said.

Dr. Timothy Brewer is an infectious disease expert at UCLA. He says testing is no guarantee a person will remain virus-free between now and Thanksgiving.

“The more people get together, the more likely one of those individuals has been potentially exposed and infected, so that’s the real concern with people traveling from different parts of the state or the country to come together,” Brewer said.

With Thanksgiving dinners inevitable, Orange County aims to curb coronavirus with a new initiative to distribute in-home kits that involve the testing of saliva.

“So there’s no swabbing of the nostrils or certainly no collection of any, or requires any needles. So this is just a test kit that’s very simple for people to use,” Orange County supervisor Andrew Do said.

“In the case of a saliva test, they’re looking for a piece of protein from the virus and because there’s no amplification step in these antigen-based tests, they sometimes miss infections, particularly early on infections,” Brewer said.

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