Medical experts: Negative COVID-19 test isn’t enough to travel, gather for holidays

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — People are heading to COVID-19 testing sites across Wake County as they plan for the holidays.

“It has been nonstop, but we’ve had such great patients coming in,” said physician assistant Dana Green at American Family Care.

Medical experts expect Monday and Tuesday to be the busiest test days. It’s recommended people get tested one to three days before traveling or gathering.

“A lot of people are being safe for their family members and loved ones and that’s all we can ask from one another during a pandemic,” said Green.

Medical experts say a negative test isn’t enough though. It’s recommended to quarantine two weeks before going anywhere. That’s because for most people, it takes seven to 10 days after being infected to test positive. You can have COVID-19 and still test negative.

“It kind of gives you a false sense of security when you do it too early,” said Jessica Dixon, infection prevention specialist at WakeMed.

People can also be exposed after getting tested.

Experts recommend people get tested again three to five days after arriving at their destination., and then quarantining for ten days when they return.

“The implications are really scary. Lots of people do fine, but lots of people don’t,” said Dixon.

She said they don’t want to keep seeing the cases spike, like they did after Thanksgiving.  

“Every day you hope today’s going to be the day we see it go down and we’re not seeing that yet, so it’s definitely difficult,” said Dixon.

Testing sites said they have enough supplies, but if you walk in, expect to wait a couple hours.

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