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COVID-19 testing demand spikes in Houston during holidays

A local infectious disease expert weighed in on the rise in testing numbers and how to go about celebrating the holidays this year.

HOUSTON — Demand for COVID-19 testing continued in Houston after Christmas.

Long lines were seen at several of the local Curative sites that opened the day after Christmas. On Sunday, dozens of people waited outside the healthcare company’s walkup site on Beechnut Street.

RELATED: Where to get a free COVID-19 test in the Houston area

“When I tried to scramble to find this one, I said, 'Oh, it's going to be a line because everyone is in the same situation ... trying to get tested,'” Greta Brown   said.

"Probably waited about 40 minutes,” Ignitia Battaglia said.

Health care officials said the rise in demand is a good thing.

"It is gratifying to see the general public going out going to testing centers,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Linda Yancey said.

Yancey said it will help stop the spread of the virus.

She said that while there has been an uptick in cases across the city, there are still things to keep in mind after the holiday.

One is to keep in close contact with the people you gathered with.

“That way, if someone turns out to be sick and not known it, you can spread that information about that exposure from the entire group,” she said.

The second thing is to get tested right away if you do develop symptoms.

Yancey said you should be careful with certain at-home testing kits.

“At-home tests have a high false-negative rate, but if you are having symptoms and you test negative with an at-home test, go and have that backed up with a PCR test," she said.

She said there's one more thing to keep in mind this holiday season.

“Just to remind everyone it absolutely not too late to get the vaccine and it’s certainly not too late to get the booster,” she said.

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