Travelers rush to get tested for COVID-19 ahead of the holidays

The City of Philadelphia is averaging 642 COVID cases per day, according to the 6abc Data Journalism team.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- This holiday season looks quite different compared to last year, with many anxious to get out of town and reunite with loved ones.

"I have a pretty large family, so I just missed hanging out with them at Christmas," said Maeve McMahon of Wallingford.

But case counts are surging. In Philadelphia, cases increased 180% over the last month, with the city currently averaging 642 cases per day, according to the 6abc Data Journalism team.

Many people are rushing to get a COVID-19 test ahead of the holidays.

"I had so many family members exposed to it, and I lost some family members to it, so I just wanted to know to be on the safe side," said Shakara Byrumeo of North Philadelphia.

Siddharth Agrawal of Reading added, "We are flying off to Saint Thomas island tomorrow, and I found there is a testing requirement we have to upload in the portal, so I wanted to make sure that we're all cleared."

Dr. William Surkis, vice president of medical education for Main Line Health, said it's important to get tested at the first sign of symptoms before seeing anyone.

"I think if you want to be incredibly careful and get tested before having a gathering with family members a few days before, three days before, you could test," said Surkis.

Surkis adds the best way to stay safe is to wear a mask and be vaccinated.

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This holiday season looks quite different compared to last year, with many anxious to get out of town and reunite with loved ones.



Licensed clinical therapist Margo Jadico said, "We're seeing a lot of isolation. We're seeing people that are showing up with depression and anxiety, and those numbers are going up."

She says some people were hopeful when the vaccines came along, and the cases started going down.

But since then, those individuals became depressed when the numbers started surging again. She says they need to find ways to cope.

"Trying to control the things that you can, so wearing your masks and still trying to see people that you feel comfortable seeing," added Jadico.

While some are nervous, others have little concern about the surging cases stopping their plans to gather with family and friends.

"We aren't nervous about COVID at all. We're going to get together, and we're going to enjoy this holiday like we always do," said Demetrius Hoyle of North Philadelphia.

The City of Philadelphia will be giving out free, rapid at-home testing kits during the vaccine clinic held at Community Academy of Philadelphia from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 1100 East Erie Avenue.

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