JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colorado — If you traveled on a plane to see loved ones for Thanksgiving, does that mean you should get tested for COVID-19?
"If you did feel that you had an exposure and you're thinking testing is appropriate, about a week after the exposure is the best time," Dr. Amy Duckro, director of Population Management for Kaiser Permanente, said.
Despite the requests to stay home from government officials nationwide, Thanksgiving was still a busy travel holiday. Duckro said that when it comes to testing, exposure is the key not just traveling over Thanksgiving.
"I would not advocate for testing in that scenario where you had taken precautions, you were on a plane, but you didn’t feel you had any exposure to someone who is symptomatic, that would not be an indication for testing in my mind," Duckro said.
Dr. Rachel Herlihy is the State Epidemiologist for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Right now, Colorado is processing between 30,000 to 60,000 COVID tests daily, according to Herlihy.
"At this point, we do continue to increase testing capacity across the state," Herlihy said. "At this point, we do feel comfortable with the amount of testing that is available in the state."
Herlihy said people should consider something more basic before deciding to get a COVID-19 test.
"Individuals who have traveled for Thanksgiving, who were part of a large gathering, who had potential exposures over the holidays really need to be quarantining," Herlihy said.
She said they should quarantine first for 14 days. But, if someone does start to show symptoms, Herlihy said to get tested right away. She said the state is looking for a surge after Thanksgiving just like the surges after July 4th and Labor Day gatherings.
"This is different now," Herlihy said. "We’ve had our highest level of disease transmission since the beginning of the pandemic and having a surge in cases associated with the holiday on top of that does have the potential to really stress our health care system."
Duckro said that is the kind of stress that hospitals are trying to avoid.
"Wherever you are, the number of cases go up and it just continues to expand exponentially. We're going to have constraints on our resources just like we were looking at in April and March," Duckro said. "The number we really have to watch are our numbers of hospital beds."
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