MILLBRAE (CBS SF) — San Francisco Bay Area residents flocked to COVID testing sites Sunday instead to the local supermarkets as the days counted down to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Generally, Bay Area grocery stores and markets are in a state of bedlam the weekend before Thanksgiving as shoppers pick up supplies for a traditional gathering. But the COVID pandemic has changed all that and people were rushing to get a test for the virus in the wake of any Thanksgiving family celebration.

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Still health officials say just because you get a negative COVID test result, you don’t have the greenlight to ignore warnings about travel, large Thanksgiving holiday gatherings and the use of proper social distancing precautions.

“It’s one of the biggest misconceptions I’ve heard during the entire epidemic,” said Dr. John Lapook, CBS News health expert, on what a negative test means.

“So here’s the deal. It’s a 2-to-14 day incubation period. That means I could get infected today and will not become infectious, able to infect other people for 2-to-14 days. I could get tested every day up until day five or six and be negative seven or eight, be negative, then suddenly turn positive.”

“We all want to be seeing our loved ones,” he added. “But now is the time when we really want to be safe. So that guess what? Once we get the vaccine and hopefully we’re protected, that we can see them in the future and a year from now have a wonderful and much safer holiday season.”

Many Bay Area residents told KPIX 5 Sunday they have altered their Thanksgiving plans or those plans remain in flux.

Jennifer Deloche said she and her boyfriend were spending her Thanksgiving with some friends in a socially distanced space that is partly outdoors.

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“There’s a whole wraparound deck that has outdoor seating,” she said. “That will seat up to eight people, and the indoor table has 12 seats for 12. And we have a total of five people, so we’re going to be very spaced out. We’re all getting tested before we meet.”

Meanwhile, Marcela Aguilar said her mother cancelled Thanksgiving plans at first, but then changed her mind.

“She decided we can come over, just just we’re gonna all wear masks,” she said “And some people will sit over there some will sit at the table.”

Aguilar said she will get a COVID test before attending.

“I am getting a COVID test tomorrow,” she said.

Despite the travel warning, Martin Gershenson said his family was planning on a safe Thanksgiving in Hawaii.

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“We’re from Santa Cruz,” he said. “We’re spending the night here. We’re heading to SFO in the morning to go to Hawaii. So we’ll be by ourselves on the beach. I know they’re not supposed to do that either. But we’re going.”