By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — COVID-19 is top of mind as cases surge this holiday season. Families are rushing to get a negative result so they can gather together.

The state testing site in Lino Lakes saw a steady stream of people coming and going on Tuesday.

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“People want to know. They don’t want to get their relatives sick. They don’t want to spread it to anybody else,” Bob Fulton said.

A COVID-positive roommate prompted Lori and Brian to test ahead of a family gathering.

“We’re having the kids over so we want to make sure that everybody’s healthy. Well, now it’s gonna change,” Lori Klein said.

A rapid test gave Brian the unwanted news that the virus spread to him.

“It sucks, it really does. Changes my whole Christmas, that’s for sure,” Brian Hurt said.

Many couldn’t find the in-demand at-home rapid tests in stores, or didn’t want to pay, so they opted for one of the free state testing sites.

People told WCCO things have gone smoothly. Some had an appointment, while others walked right in. There are two options: a rapid test, or a PCR test with results in one to three days.

“I’m very worried about family members, especially the older ones that are more vulnerable,” Elizabeth Kyes said.

Kyes lost her grandpa in January to COVID, so she’s especially mindful as she heads home to Wisconsin later this week.

(credit: CBS)

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“I work with a lot of kids every day. I’m in contact, there’s been a lot of outbreaks in the school, so I just want to be safe,” Kyes said.

People hope to walk out with the OK to spend the holidays gathering with loved ones.

“Some peace, some, you know, assurance, that yes, we are negative,” Connie and Mike said.

There was a long line of cars for a rapid testing site outside the Mall of America on Tuesday as Minnesotans try to get COVID-19 testing results before Christmas.

“It’s really stressful,” Bria Skalsky, from St. Cloud, said.

Skalsky has been trying to find a rapid antigen COVID-19 test. She was with a friend Saturday night who later tested positive for COVID-19. Skalsky says she does not have symptoms as of Tuesday.

“If I want to spend Christmas with my family and my friends, I need to be able to test negative,” Skalsky said.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden pledged to provide half a billion home rapid tests to counter omicron.

“We’ll be giving these tests to Americans for free,” Biden said.

Biden said starting in January, Americans can go online to order them to be delivered to their home.

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Click here to find your nearest COVID-19 testing site in Minnesota.