By Christina Hager

BOSTON (CBS) – “It’s a Christmas miracle,” shouted one of the many people standing in a long line Wednesday morning to get an at-home COVID-19 test kit. It felt like a miracle getting ahold of the highly sought-after tests ahead of Christmas. The City of Boston had crews handing them out at libraries.

In Brighton, Reed Langona is prepared to scrap his holiday plans, depending on the test result. “I’ve gotten both my vaccines and my booster, but there are people at home that are immune-compromised,” he said. “So I’m taking every measure that I can.”

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“I think rapid tests, in particular, can be very useful if people are able to access them really on the day of the gathering,” said Mass General Hospital infectious diseases Dr. Sandra Nelson. She says PCR tests, which can take more than 24 hours to yield results, are also helpful, even a few days before a gathering. “Within a PCR, there’s probably at least a day by which if you are negative on one day, you’re probably protected from transmission to another person for probably another day or two,” she said.

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Aidan Browne from Newton just found out he may have been close to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. “Not the best scenario, but could be an awful lot worse,” he said. He waited in line for a test at a walk-in clinic in Needham Wednesday, his plans now hanging on the results. “Whatever comes. That’s the nature of this, and what can we do?”

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“I think in the name of this much more transmissible variant, flexibility and being able to adapt is really key,” said Dr. Nelson. “I think this is especially true for people who are higher risk.”

Christina Hager