TAMPA, Fla. — The holidays have been different this year. Celebrations have shifted online, parties have gotten smaller and people have been taking steps to avoid spreading COVID-19.
However, despite some people changing their celebrations for safety, others have thrown caution to the wind. After Memorial Day and Labor Day, Florida saw a consistent increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases following those holidays. Doctors expect the same to happen after Labor Day weekend.
This time, doctors warn the spread could be faster and have more devastating consequences.
"The problem we have now that we didn't have over the summer is that a lot of our kids are in school, so this is another way if we go to a barbecue with friends and family, now you have a greater chance of spreading it [COVID-19] throughout the entire community," said Dr. Michael Teng, an associate professor at the University of South Florida.
So after your Labor Day weekend, doctors urge you to monitor your symptoms. If you feel sick at all, or something else you were in contact with starts to show any signs of illness, get tested for COVID-19.
Since people in Florida are seeing significant delays in getting their test results back, medical professionals are advising you to use a rapid test. Those tests can give you results back in minutes. There are other test options that provide you results within a day or two, as opposed to taking the risk of waiting sometimes upwards of a week at county testing sites.
It's important to use a rapid testing option so you know whether or not you have the virus, so you can take steps to stop the spread.
"A traditional test with long wait times right now, I hate to say it, may not be that helpful because once you get your results, you'll probably know if you have it or not based on any symptoms you may show," Teng said.
Here are some options for rapid testing or quick-turnaround testing. Keep in mind there may be a cost associated with these tests:
- TGH Urgent Care by Fast Track offers 15-minute rapid testing
- 24/7 Labs has rapid testing
- American Family Care Urgent Care is getting rapid testing this September
- Private labs like Physician Partners of America offers VIP testing results within 24 hours for $300
- Private doctors offices may also offer rapid testing options
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