MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Should you get COVID tested before seeing your family and friends this Thanksgiving? Based on turnaround times for testing, your only option left might be rapid tests you can pick up from your local pharmacy, but should you depend on those?
WREG asked Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Steve Threlkeld these questions so you wouldn’t have to.
Dr. Threlkeld acknowledged that the best and most sensitive tests could take a bit longer to come back so it might be too late for Thanksgiving but getting a rapid test is good way to predict a positive test.
“The rapid tests are still excellent if they are positive. They are very good at predicting positivity, they’re just not as sensitive. They’re not as likely to pick up a small amount of virus so you can’t get quite as much as gospel if the test says negative as you can with the more expensive and longer wait tests,” he said.
He said he is starting to see some hospitalizations go back up. This comes as people are ready to be back to normal.
“We’re also going to likely see a lot of people who are going to blow it out. Who haven’t seen grandma in a year or two so there’s probably going to be a lot more travel and potential exposures this time,” Dr. Threlkeld said.
He said the best protection is being vaccinated and to not be embarrassed about setting rules to protect vulnerable people in your household.
“Testing right before a gathering is a good way to add an additional layer of protection for somebody who can’t get vaccinated and so could potentially be at risk for some of the people at our gatherings,” he said.
So where can you get the rapid tests?
Dr. Threlkeld also encourages masking and social distancing to stay safe