Doctor warns people not to rush out for COVID testing before Thanksgiving travel

Some COVID-19 testing sites in Seminole County are seeing an increase in people getting tested before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris said the county is seeing a 100 percent increase at its pop-up testing sites. He said earlier this week they went from testing 150 people one day to 250 the next day.

Harris said there are some people who said they wanted to get tested before the holiday.

“They want to have some sense of peace before they go out and enjoy the family.”

Harris is cautioning people who get negative test results to proceed with caution.

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“It only gives you a snapshot in time. So it tells you If you have enough viral load today. It does not tell you if you have enough viral load tomorrow or the next day.”

OrlandoHealth Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Antonio Crespo agrees, saying a person could test negative for the virus one day and positive the next day.

“Testing is important and we recommend it in situations where somebody’s has been exposed or somebody has symptoms,” he said.

Otherwise, Dr. Crespo said it is more important to increase safety precautions before and after your trip. He recommends avoiding large crowds, staying at home as much as possible, being very strict with wearing your mask and practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene.

“We’re not telling people don’t go enjoy the holidays. We’re saying please do it safely,” Harris said. “If you’re going to large gatherings and you’re planning to see your grandma or grandfather or anyone with an immune-compromised position next Thursday that’s a recipe for disaster.”

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Harris said Seminole County is already seeing an increase in cases from Halloween, going from 300 active cases 4 weeks ago to more than 900 cases now.

“That tells you that we’re exponentially increasing nothing like back on Memorial Day and I think that’s because people are wearing facial masks and coverings and people are social distancing.”

Harris said if someone does want to be tested for coronavirus after they return home from their trip they should wait four to five days that way if they have been exposed to the virus there will be enough of it in their system that it will show up on a test.