Health officials say people should get tested if they traveled for Thanksgiving


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Just days after the long Thanksgiving holiday where people gathered and traveled to be with family and loved ones, there are new questions about the need for getting tested and quarantining now that they’re back home.

Top health experts agree those who traveled for Thanksgiving should get tested.

“The more that risk was from your means of travel, the place you went, the things you did while you were there, the more likely you need to be about being aggressive about protecting the people when you get home,” Dr. Steve Threlkeld, a Baptist Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist, said.

But many disagree on how long they they should isolate or quarantine after getting tested. Threlkeld recommends at least a week of isolation.

“I think that getting tested is very reasonable certainly if you have any symptoms,” Threlkeld said. “But if you can quarantine five to seven days and get a test then and it’s probably not appropriate you get it when you get back because you’re not as likely to gotten an infection to have a positive test right then.  I think that’s the mistake people make.”

And with more Thanksgiving data coming in, health experts say we should brace for another coronavirus surge.

“So if you put a surge on top of a surge to what we’re seeing now it really takes us to territory that we’ve never been before, certainly not in my life time,” Threlkeld said.

Threlkeld said the increased COVID numbers and the need for hospital beds, could put a strain on some elective procedures or surgeries, but only at the Baptist location on Walnut Grove Road.

“We are portioning out some of those procedures to other facilities and doing a lot of things to try keep communication up and utilize and do as many as those procedures as we can,” Threlkeld said.

For now, it’s a wakeup call to continue to play it safe even with a vaccine on the horizon.

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