Health experts advise COVID-19 testing before meeting with family on Christmas Day

Posted at 10:35 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 23:16:37-05

Local health experts tell ABC Action News knowing if you are infected with the omicron variant is imperative before meeting family on Christmas.

At-home rapid test kits are available at stores like Walgreens, CVS and Publix. Health experts also suggest checking your local pharmacy for do-it-yourself tests.

“They’re about $12 per test, $12 to $15 per test, and you can run them in your own home for 15 minutes," Dr. Thomas Unnasch of The University of South Florida's College of Public Health said.

The at-home test is convenient for most, but Unnasch says positive results are about 85 percent accurate. A PCR test almost certainly turns a correct result, he says, but it comes with a longer turnaround time and sometimes higher cost.

"You can probably do that if you want to get in for an appointment like the day before you travel," Unnasch said.

Unnasch says if everyone around your Christmas dining table feels OK and are in good health a test may not be necessary, but if grandparents or other at-risk family members are all huddled around the tree, he says, a rapid test on Christmas morning is worth it in order to enjoy the holiday safely.

“For just sort of monitoring how you’re doing and for peace of mind I think they’re a really good idea,” Unnasch said about at-home tests.

You can visit the Florida Department of Health's COVID-19 testing site page to see an up-to-date map of active testing sites in Tampa Bay.