REDWOOD CITY (CBS SF) — With new COVID cases surging across the San Francisco Bay Area, health officials are delivering a familiar message but it bears repeating. They are urging everyone to get tested.

It’s a lesson Liliana Zaragoza learned firsthand. In July, first her mom and then her daughter got sick with the virus.

“It has to hit your family for you to believe how bad it is,” she told KPIX 5. “Once it hits someone you really care about or love, that’s when you are going to realize that it is real and it’s bad…It’s not a joke. It’s real and it’s scary. Once it’s at your house, it’s scary.”

With case numbers rising and Thanksgiving nearing, public health officials are encouraging people to get tested. On Sunday, a Redwood City test site was targeting its message to members of the Latinx community who are often essential workers without the luxury of working from home.

“Hispanic people have no opportunity to work from home,” said Veronica Escamaz of Casa Circulo Cultural. “So they are working at restaurants, stores and other places. They can be infected without knowing.”

Public health officials warn people should not use a negative test to give themselves permission to have a traditional Thanksgiving with family and friends. It’s possible to become infected the time between taking the test and getting your results.

“I’m not taking that risk of getting together at Thanksgiving so it’s just really for my own — making sure that I am negative at this time,” said Jenny Stahler, who was at the Redwood site Sunday.

A negative result, health officials say, is just a snapshot in time.