Perhaps the best present anyone can get this Christmas is a negative COVID test.

While the wait may not be as long as in other parts of the country, about 30 people stood in line at noon on Christmas Eve, at the Xpress COVID Testing facility on Maple Avenue downtown.

Raiane Pinhiero and Guilherme Maicondes were among those in that line.

Raianne Pinhiero and Guilherme Maicondes with a clinic technician.

The two Northwestern University graduate students were returning home to Brazil for the holidays, and were getting the more accurate PCR tests so they could take an international flight. (Quicker-response antigen tests were also available).

Neither traveler had any symptoms, but Maicondes said they “didn’t want to bring COVID” to their friends and families.

Colleen Conley was also waiting, with her three school-age children, Lilia, Lucia, and Lorelia Lindberg.

Six-year-old Lorelia, Conley said, was exposed to COVID earlier this week in school. While that youngest sister had no symptoms (nor did the older girls nor did mom), Conley said she wanted to be “extra cautious” before traveling to Wisconsin.

The Xpress Testing web site says the facility takes all types of insurance, but also can provide no-cost testing for those without coverage.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.