Doctor warns a negative COVID-19 test doesn’t guarantee a safe family gathering

COVID-19 testing
COVID-19 testing(weau)
Published: Nov. 14, 2020 at 2:00 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The spike in COVID-19 cases comes just weeks before Thanksgiving. Health experts fear the numbers will drastically increase after the holiday. That’s why they’re encouraging people to cancel large family gatherings.

“I think one of the most important considerations during Thanksgiving or any holidays is our stranger bias. We feel like we’re more likely to get it from somebody we don’t know, but in fact what we’re seeing with these infections is that there’s much more likely to be a spread in family units,” Dr. Ryan Stanton explained.

Dr. Stanton says it’s likely that testing sites will see a surge in action as some people are hoping for negative results the week of Thanksgiving, allowing them to spend time with family. He warns that’s still not a safe plan.

“The negative doesn’t even mean that you’re negative right now, it definitely doesn’t mean that you won’t be negative in 12 hours, 24 hours, a day, two days, three days, four days or however many it may be.”

He says unfortunately, the holiday won’t be filled with hugs from loved ones. His own family celebration is going virtual this year. “I would much rather have my parents around for the next 10 to 15 or 20 Thanksgivings and Christmases than risk it for this one,” he said.

Researchers are optimistic a vaccine will be approved by the end of the year, but Dr. Stanton says it won’t be widely available right away. He says people should be prepared for Christmas being another socially distanced holiday.

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