Health officials issue warning about COVID-19 testing to those planning to see family for Thanksgiving

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Less than a week until Thanksgiving and tonight doctors have a warning for those planning to see family: just because you get a negative COVID-19 test before seeing relatives, do not assume you can’t potentially spread the disease.

When it comes to COVID-19 testing, Baptist infectious disease specialist Dr. Steve Threlkeld has this message as we look ahead to the Thanksgiving holiday.

“As important as the story is of who should be tested, it’s also a story of how far that gets us and it’s not all the way there,” Threlkeld said. “Because you should not take it that if your test if negative on Tuesday then you can’t give it to your grandparent on Thursday night. That test is good for Tuesday and the following day or the day after you could come down with the disease.”

He says although it’s difficult, one way to help protect yourself and others would be to quarantine for two weeks before getting the test. Then you could have more confidence you’re not a danger to others.

“But if you’re going to be traveling in the ensuing day or two and might be exposed after that then all of that might’ve been for not,” Threlkeld said. “I’ve said many times I’m a huge proponent of testing but we have to use all of the modalities we can to prevent this infection. Look at the White House, they tested everybody everyday but still had a large super spreader event at an outdoors event at that.”

Threlkeld advises against traveling and meeting with family outside of those you currently live with, but if gathering can’t be avoided maintain social distance and wear a facial covering if possible.

Several free testing sites in Shelby County are included below:

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