Demand for over-the-counter Covid tests rises as families prepare to gather safely for the holidays

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- The recent surge in Covid cases has put some families on edge about how to safely get together over the holidays.

For them, there will be a strong requirement on a negative Covid rapid test.

We talked to moms of small children, those who can't be vaccinated, and for those families, there is no option. Everyone who walks in their door must show proof they're Covid-free.

"Actually mama bear, so yeah, my idea, but they're totally fine with it," said mom Rebecca Davies.

Davies stopped at a West Allis Walgreens feeling confident after finding a number of rapid tests still on a table near the front of the store.

"I have young children who can't get the vaccine yet, and we're making sure that everyone has a negative rapid Covid test," said Davies.

With omicron lending to the recent surge in Covid cases, many are taking precautions this Christmas, leading to an unprecedented demand for over-the-counter Covid tests.

Walgreens is now limiting to four the number you can purchase at once.

"We remain committed to meeting the needs of our customers and patients and are doing all we can to support our communities during this critical time," said Walgreens President John Standley.

"Well certainly if there's anybody in the group that is unvaccinated, you may want them to do a rapid test before they join the party," said Dr. William Hartman of University of Wisconsin's Moderna pediatric Covid-19 trial.

Erica Cancasci has a 3-year-old at home.

"This year we want to see everyone, and in order to do that, we wanted to try to do it safely. So we decided to ask everyone to get tested for Covid and there was a little apprehension with some people," said Cancasci. 

Seeing a negative Covid test will allow Cancasci's family to feel freer than they felt last year at this time.

"We have something now that's accessible to us, to help us relax a little bit, to have fun with our family, and I don't want to worry about anything. I just want to have fun," said Cancasci. 

"And I think that people should feel more comfortable to have family gatherings, especially since it's been two years probably since they've seen some of these family members. Just be vigilant," said Dr. Hartman.

For those who won't be testing, Dr. Hartman says same practice as last year will help, like hand-washing, no sharing of utensils, cracking a window for ventilation and wearing a face mask.

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