coronavirus

COVID Testing Lines Stretch for Hours in Boston Area Amid Rising Cases, Travel Plans

Hundreds lined up to wait for COVID testing in Cambridge's Harvard Square on Sunday, some of whom were planning to travel

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With the holidays just days away, Boston Logan International Airport was was bustling with travelers Sunday night.

More than 109 million people will travel between Dec. 23 and Jan 2. That’s an almost 34% increase from last year, according to AAA.

With the omicron variant in Massachusetts and COVID cases on the rise, both locally and across the county, some are rethinking their holiday plans while others are proceeding with caution.

“With the precautions, I’m comfortable with it. I’m vaccinated -- booster,” said Bruce Montgomery, who took a short flight to South Carolina and back.

The 2nd holiday season of the coronavirus pandemic is here. Whether you plan to gather with family or not, you should get a booster shot to help protect you against the virus, especially with the Omicron variant surging. And you should be cautious about big gatherings with lots of singing - that's more likely to spread an infection, says Dr. Bob Lahita of St. Joseph's Health in Paterson, NJ.

“I’m vaccinated, should be enough at the moment. Masked up, that’s the best we can do at the moment. Got to learn to live with what we got," said Anthony Melody of Hartford.

In Cambridge's Harvard Square, hundreds lined up for hours to wait for COVID testing on Sunday. Many students need a negative test to fly home.

“It’s been an hour and 45 minutes so far,” said one person in line.

Erica Chapman of Cambridge said she waited for two hours to get tested.

“The line was wrapped all the way around the block at least once. I think it started overlapping at one point,” she said.

Jose Moreno got tested to keep his family safe this Christmas.

“It’s kind of a hassle. The fact that it’s not accessible at this point is kind of disappointing,” he said.

Cities across Massachusetts are handing out free at-home testing kits to help curb the spread of COVID-19 this holiday season.

Even though 2.1 million free rapid tests are being distributed throughout Massachusetts, the tests are still hard to come by. Many are sold out.

“We’ve been doing this for a year, so I don’t understand why we still have to do this, wait in line. We’re not new to this, right?” Chapman said.

To help ease concerns for some travelers, COVID testing is offered at Logan airport.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is set to make an announcement on the city's COVID response on Monday; city data shows that thresholds for several COVID metrics aren't being met.

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