Local experts discuss when to get a COVID test around the holidays

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, some Americans struggled to lock down a COVID-19 test. That’s because some testing sites were completely booked. Other sites had long lines. Here on Delmarva, health officials say they were able to keep up with the increased demand for tests, but they say some sites did experience long wait times.

Dr. Rick Pescatore, Chief Physician for the Delaware Division of Public Health said, “Certainly we saw long lines at all of our testing sites, but fortunately our turn around time remained very narrow.”

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, health experts are already looking towards holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah, saying they’re prepared to expand testing if need be.

Travis Brown with the Worcester County Health Department said, “If we do see numbers start to go up and we see a lot more requests and people trying to get appointments and us being booked and full, we definitely haven’t ruled out any kind of expansion for the holiday.”

Right now, they’re encouraging that you cancel any holiday plans you have with people who are not in your immediate household.

Brown said, “A lot of this is personal responsibility.”

They say if you must travel or spend time with others, you should start making a plan to get tested now.

Dr. Pescatore said, “If you are going to travel and be around others, we ask that you get tested between 2 and 3 days before coming into contact with others.”

Health experts say you should also plan on getting a test between 4 to 7 days after spending time with others. Even then, there’s a possibility you could get test negative, when really, your symptoms haven’t started showing yet.  Overall, health experts say your best bet is to practice the following:  “Treating everybody as if they could be infected with COVID-19, remembering social distancing, wearing masks, hand washing, all these things contribute and work together to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Pescatore said.

If you struggle to lock down a COVID test at one testing site, health experts say you have plenty of other options. You could book a test at your local Walgreens or CVS, get a test from your primary care provider, attend a pop up testing site and in Delaware, you can request at home testing.

Categories: Coronavirus, Delaware, Local News, Maryland