Mill Valley family COVID tests guests ahead of New Year's party in effort to stay safe

The host says he purchased an at-home processing machine for PCR tests, which every guest will use hours before the party.

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Marin family spending $1500 to COVID test guests for NYE party
A Marin County family is spending big bucks to COVID test every guest before their New Year's Eve party.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- With New Year's just a few days away, Andrew Angus and his family are determined to throw a party at their Marin County home.

"We wanted to have this party and we think that we can do this safely," Angus said.

In order to keep themselves and their guests safe, Angus says they'll be testing everyone with PCR tests at their house hours before their Friday night gathering.

It's possible, he says, thanks to an at-home test processing machine that he bought several months ago.

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"You put the cartridge in. It heats up. Then you get the sample from your nose, stick it into the cartridge and it syncs with my phone," Angus said.

The process takes about 20 minutes in total- a time frame much faster than waiting for PCR tests done at regular testing sites.

Angus says he's created a spreadsheet for guests to come get their tests done.

"We wouldn't do this if we just had rapid antigen tests. But, with a PCR test, it's going to be better at asymptomatic infection and early infection," Angus said.

VIDEO: What to know about rapid COVID at-home tests as demand for testing surges

The demand for COVID-19 testing has surged as President Biden is making 500 million free rapid tests available to Americans next month.

Angus says the testing regimen is costing the family about $1,500.

A price they're willing to pay, especially for two of their children who are still too young to be vaccinated.

"It's been a stressful year, but it's been a really big and important year for our family, and for us to all come together with our friends is important for us to do," Angus said.

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Health officials are recommending that people cancel New Year's parties.

"We're seeing now that there are outbreaks occurring. Even in gatherings where everyone is vaccinated," said Marin Public Health Officer, Dr. Matt Willis.

But given that they've hosted other parties outdoors successfully over the past year, Angus says he's confident they're being as safe as possible.

"I think we're going to be living like this for a long time, so getting used to how we do things and limit the risk is important," Angus said.