Negative coronavirus test doesn't mean you're in the clear, health experts warn

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- COVID-19 testing is becoming routine and more readily available, but health experts are warning that just because you get a negative test doesn't mean you should risk your health this holiday.

"I had body aches, fever, I couldn't smell, and night sweats," said Patricia Evans of South Philadephia.

Evans has already been through COVID-19 and vows to not put anyone at risk this holiday season. Her plan this year is to cook for herself, her daughter and two grandsons.
"No outside company or anything like that," she said.

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What to do about the family during the holidays is a tough decision for many.

Megan Hall is staying within what she calls her "circle of trust."

"I actually just got a rapid test on Friday, same with my brother, so we're all trying to get tested before we see each other," says Hall.

She'll skip the traveling this time around.

"We've only seen the same six people since the start of the pandemic. No family travel, no getting on planes. We're staying local," said Hall.

Two drive-thru testing sites popped up in Delaware County Monday with an expectation people may want to know their status either before or after travel.

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"Right after Thanksgiving, there was a big rush because of the travel guidance from the state. But right now at our sites, the lines are there, but we usually get through the people who are there," said Dr. Monica Taylor, vice-chair of Delaware County Council.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says just because you get a negative test doesn't mean you're in the clear, or that you're immune to catching the coronavirus.

"It doesn't help to just test beforehand. People think that testing somehow is going to make them safer," said Dr. Farley. "It didn't work for Thanksgiving and it won't work this time around."

Medical experts are worried about another case spike.

"We had a huge spike of infections that happened right after Thanksgiving. It started one incubation period, five days after Thanksgiving, clearly related to Thanksgiving," said Farley.
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