BOSTON — Happy holidays friends! Nothing says seasons greetings quite like frantically trying to scramble to find a last-second COVID-19 test in a city where there are seemingly none.
Let's say you are planning on meeting up with the family around the holidays, but you're worried about grandma or grandpa. You'd feel safer staying away, but it's Christmas and you know your family would disown you if you didn't show up.
So you decide to take matters into your own hands and take a test before visiting them.
But wait - so did everyone.
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It wasn't the biggest problem because you weren't feeling ill. Suddenly people in your close contacts are getting it. You just received notice that someone you saw over the weekend tested positive Tuesday night and now you're scrambling to find anything or anywhere that will take you.
You should get a test if you have any COVID-19 symptoms or have had contact with anyone who has tested positive. The state also recommends you get tested if you've traveled out of Massachusetts or are planning to gather indoors with people you don't live with.
Testing lines wrap around the block in nearly every Boston neighborhood, there isn't a single drug store in Massachusetts that sells take-home tests anymore and hours spent surfing the web for last-minute PCR testing appointments seems futile.
Personally, I panicked for about 3 hours straight.
Tufts Medical Center has a walk-in testing site open to the public at 276 Tremont St. in Boston, but if you plan on attempting a test there, prepare to wait and maybe bring a folding chair.
I got there at 6:45 a.m. Wednesday morning only to leave the line at 10:00 a.m. when I heard one woman say they were going to stop testing people and I felt the line wasn't going anywhere.
That's when I ran over to my local library, remembering take-home kits were going to be distributed once they opened right at 10 a.m.
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Last Monday, the state distributed 2 million rapid at-home tests to the 102 communities hit the hardest by COVID-19, but even that isn't hitting the mark.
Luckily, I was able to snag a set for myself at the Brighton Branch of the Boston Public Library Wednesday, but the library says they have officially run out for the day.
A spokesperson said the Brighton branch may be receiving a limited amount of tests Thursday, but also is urging people to call at 12:00 p.m. to confirm that tests have been received. If I'm being honest, and you're feeling desperate enough, I would recommend getting there early Thursday despite the call ahead just for the gamble.
The Codman Square branch in Dorchester started administering tests when they opened at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, but a spokeswoman says they were cleared out by 11:30 a.m.
The East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library also ran out of take-home tests Wednesday, with an official saying more may be coming in tomorrow, but couldn't be certain.
The Central Library at Copley Square will distribute some at 5:30 p.m., but chances are they will run out, as lines were reported out the door and around the corner at 4:45 p.m.
Beverly officials said the city's distribution of state- and city-purchased rapid coronavirus tests will continue with another batch of the free at-home tests available Thursday at Lynch Park.
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If you're in the city and losing your mind by now, I suggest calling and checking with as many of the Phase One Boston community test pickup sites as you can.
Wednesday afternoon, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized the first antiviral pill to treat COVID-19, which could mean preventing ill-feeling people from having to be hospitalized.
Pfizer's pill, Paxlovid has been approved for take-home use as prescribed by a physician after a patient has come back with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test.
Hopefully, you're reading this out of sheer boredom and not because you've also exhausted all possible attempts of finding a covid test in your area.
Best of luck to you if that is on your plate at the moment, and I hope you'll be able to get it all sorted out before the struggle of trying to find a test hinders any of your holiday plans.
Stay safe and enjoy what you can out of the holiday season this year, check back with Patch for all of your COVID-19 related questions or other important holiday news like this.