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Public health experts remind people when they should get tested for COVID-19

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Posted at 5:02 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 17:09:40-04

TAMPA, Fla. — With a highly transmissible variant surging in parts of the country and here in Florida, it’s likely more people may become exposed to COVID-19. Public health experts are reminding people when to get tested for COVID, regardless if they’re vaccinated or not.

“Once we were back in March of 2020, we all talked about flattening the curve and trying to protect the medical system, and I think we’re back again in a similar situation right now,” said Distinguished USF Health professor Dr. Thomas Unnasch.

Health experts share that testing is still an important factor to help slow the spread of the virus. Dr. Unnasch explains we need to work together to try and limit the amount of transmission, as well as prevent overloading the healthcare system.

“It’s really important now for us, all of us, even including the vaccinated people, if you are feeling a little bit under the weather, even if it’s just what you think summer allergies or a case of the sniffles, to really go get yourself tested because you may have COVID, and you may be able to pass it on to others,” said Unnasch.

The CDC says you should get tested if you have COVID symptoms. You should also get tested if you’ve had a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The CDC says people who are fully vaccinated should get tested 3 to 5 days after exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they get a negative test result.

For people who aren’t fully vaccinated, the CDC says they should quarantine and test immediately after being identified, and if negative, test again in 5 to 7 days after last exposure or immediately if they develop symptoms during quarantine.

“It’s no different for them than it was back in last summer, the summer of 2020. If you’re not vaccinated, you are really susceptible to getting this infection,” said Dr. Unnasch.

The CDC says people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not need to get tested after being exposed as long as they do not develop new symptoms. Health experts continue to urge people to mask up and get vaccinated, all an effort to put the pandemic behind us.

“It’s quick and it’s easy and it’s really good for your peace of mind,” said Unnasch. “If you’re vaccinated, it’s going to help protect others and protect the healthcare system, and if you’re unvaccinated, it’ll give you a word that you’re infected quickly, which will allow you to go get the treatments that you need to help this turn into just a bad cold and not a life-threatening event.”