When doctors say to get tested for COVID-19 if you're exposed over Thanksgiving

Medical teams say wait five days after exposure
Posted at 4:36 PM, Nov 25, 2020

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — While doctors, first responders and local health departments are asking people to not gather in large groups for the Thanksgiving holiday, there are still many families who say they're planning to get together regardless.

After major holidays, doctors have typically seen spikes in COVID-19 numbers.

Doctors are sharing what to do if you learn someone in your group has symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for the virus.

First, assess if you yourself have symptoms of COVID-19. These include cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, vomiting, and severe headaches and body aches. If you do, medical workers say go get a test right away.

But if you don't have symptoms, but believe you may have been exposed, doctors say you and your immediate family will need to self-quarantine. Then, wait about five days to get tested.

"The reason for doing that is that you will probably get a false negative test if you do the test, and the first one or two or three, four days, since the exposure because there's not enough viral load in your nose," said Dr. Lara Cavanaugh with Children's Medical Center in Palm Harbor.


Something else important to keep in mind is just because you get a negative test result after five days does not mean you are necessarily in the clear.

Doctors say you can still become positive for the virus and they say you should continue to quarantine for a full 14 days after exposure.

This article was written by Lauren Rozyla for WFTS.