By Christina Fan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This Thanksgiving weekend, a negative COVID test has become a much sought-after hostess gift.

At Mt. Carmel Pharmacy in the Bronx, CBS2’s Christina Fan found many guests getting their swabbing done.

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“Yes, people are testing. They are concerned. We had quite a few positives yesterday as well,” said Roger Paganelli, with Mt. Carmel Pharmacy.

“If you are going to be around family that you haven’t seen, yes, it’s good to get it, to be honest. Because you haven’t seen them, you don’t know who they’ve been around,” Bronx resident Victoria Perez said.

With millions of Americans still unvaccinated and a recent surge in new infections nationwide, some party hosts are requiring friends and family to get tested on or before arrival.

Etiquette expert Tom Farley says it’s a reasonable ask, especially since at-home test kits are easily accessible at CVS and Walgreens for $24 a pack.

But he recommends hosts give their guests ample notice prior to travel.

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“The key with all of these tests is that you are not suddenly springing it on your guests, as if you were a bouncer at the door, making them take this test before they enter the threshold your home. The reason being what happens if they actually don’t pass the test? Well, good that they have that knowledge, but now they’ve gotta, what, get back in their car and turn around and head home?” he said.

So what type of COVID test should you choose?

Molecular PCR tests are the gold standard in terms of accuracy, but it can take days for results to return from a testing facility.

Rapid antigen tests are not as sensitive, but you can do it yourself at home and get results back in 15 minutes.

“The antigen tests are very accurate, mostly when you are symptomatic. If you are not symptomatic, they don’t do as good a job,” Paganelli said.

Health officials say it is equally important to get tested after your holiday gathering, too, especially if you visit an area with high COVID infection.

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If you’re traveling by air, New York is offering free COVID testing at JFK and LaGuardia airports.

Christina Fan