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When should you get tested for COVID-19 after traveling for Thanksgiving?

Citadel Mall Covid Testing

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — For Coloradans who chose to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday or visit with loved ones, should you get tested for COVID-19, and when?

According to the El Paso County Health Department, avoid testing too early or risk receiving a false negative test.

"If you test too early, you're just going to get a negative because that's biology and the virus hasn't developed enough to create that positive result," Communicable Disease Program Manager for the county, Kimberly Pattison said.

Between days 5 and 7 following exposure or extended travel, Pattison said, is when a person is most likely to test positive for COVID-19.

"You still have up until day 14 to become positive. That's why we ask people to quarantine in their homes for that 14 day period after an exposure."

The health department also warns, the more people getting tested, the higher potential for delays.

"The more people we have going to get tested, the more we strain some of those testing resources and the more we see those delays in getting results back or delays in reporting those results out to the individuals who go get tested."

Based on past holiday trends this year, the health department is also anticipating a post-Thanksgiving spike in cases within the coming weeks.

"We have seen that after holidays we have an increase in our cases. I anticipate that we will probably see that again now, although it is too early to tell. Typically that follows a 1 week to 2 week lag in seeing that clear increase," Pattison said.

Similar to Thanksgiving, the health department recommends for the upcoming Christmas holiday, that people planning to gather to celebrate, also plan to quarantine at least 14 days in advance.

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Jen Moynihan

Jen Moynihan is a weekend anchor and reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Jen here.


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