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Kentucky doctors warn of the ‘false security’ of a negative COVID-19 test

Kentucky doctors warn of the ‘false security’ of a negative COVID-19 test

As COVID-19 cases rise and Thanksgiving approaches, the demand for testing is growing. But doctors warn that a negative test does not mean you do not have the virus.

Baptist Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chuck Anderson said the hospital is seeing more COVID-19 patients.

“That’s why this coming holiday weekend is so scary, because if we see the same increase … I think you’re going to see not just Baptist Health but Louisville being like other places in the nation,” Anderson said.

Anderson said people might assume getting a negative COVID-19 test will keep family gatherings safe, but he said that provides a false sense of security.

“We’ve heard too many stories of people getting together after testing negative, and then a week later, half the people get sick,” Anderson said.

Doctors said  if you have the coronavirus and get tested early, there might not be enough of the virus in your body to detect it.

“That’s the weird part about this virus compared to something like the flu,” said Dr. Monalisa Tailor with Norton Healthcare. “It takes like this two- to 14-day time period to actually just kind of show up on our testing, and that’s the other part that’s made it hard for us to capture it.”

Health professionals are urging you to find new ways to celebrate the holidays this year.

“It is critical that we are able to get beyond this pandemic by staying safe, protecting each other, protecting those most vulnerable,” said Larry Gray, president of Baptist Health in Louisville.

Baptist Health has passed along these following tips to have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving:

  • Celebrate with your loved ones virtually
  • Swap recipes with family members
  • Shop online
  • Donate and do something nice for someone else
  • Start  a new tradition
  • Exercise
  • Take a break from social media

Gray said another important tip to remember is to practice gratitude and remind people you are thankful for them.

“Even as strong as this pandemic is on our psyches right now, the pandemic does not have to have the last word,” Gray said.

On Thanksgiving, Zoom is lifting its free 40-minute time limit to allow family and friends to connect for longer periods of time.

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