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Don’t just guess, test for COVID-19 before traveling this week

Nov 23, 2021 | Public Health

SayYesCovidHomeTest.org
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If your family is fully vaccinated, Great! This blog isn't for you. However, if you have unvaccinated guests, the next best thing you can add for the protection of your health, the health of your family, and the health of the community is to test for COVID-19 before gathering.

I have 30 people coming for dinner- what do I do? Did your SayYes! Covid test kits arrive?

If you have a fully vaccinated family (and we mean everyone), you do not need to test. Celebrate as you would pre-pandemic. For the vast majority, this isn’t the case: we have partially vaccinated kids, we have immunocompromised guests, or we have unvaccinated adults and babies. In this reality, we need to rely on layers of safety measures to be sure everyone is protected.

Vaccinations are one layer in our protection from COVID-19. When we have guests that are unvaccinated, the next best thing you can add for the protection of your health, the health of your family, and the health of the community is to test for COVID-19 before gathering.

Antigen tests detect SARS-CoV-2 proteins and are very good at picking up on the most infectious people—a window of ~3-10 days after exposure.

You can get an antigen test at the doctor’s office or local urgent care, or you can test at home. To test at home, you can buy antigen kits online, in stores or pharmacies, or order for free while supplies last at SayYesCovidHomeTest.org .

Best Practice – Everyone who wants to attend Thanksgiving takes two antigen tests:

  1. Test on Tuesday at anytime
  • If this is negative, don’t do anything until Thursday morning.
  • If this is positive, this is a bit more difficult decision. This could be a true positive, meaning the family member is contagious. Or it could be false positive, which is less likely. What you do with a positive test at this point really depends on: vaccination status, family risk tolerance, number of unvaccinated at the event, etc. The safest and best thing you can do for your family and community is to stay home on Thursday. If you are vaccinated and asymptomatic and positive at this point is disappointing and frustrating. Vaccinated people clear this virus much faster than unvaccinated people. So, is this test just the beginning or the end of the infectious window? You won’t know unless you take another test two days later…
  1. Test Thursday morning. Everyone takes an antigen test before getting in their car to the event.
  • If it’s negative, time to celebrate
  • If it’s positive, stay home. Period.

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving week.

Adapted from Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, MPH, PhD

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