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Steps to take if exposed to COVID-19 during the holidays

Posted at 8:21 AM, Nov 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-27 11:25:07-05

After holidays, doctors have seen spikes in COVID-19 cases across the country. So what if you find out you have been exposed to COVID-19 at a Thanksgiving gathering you attended?

Reporter Lauren Rozyla explains the steps you should take.

First, assess if you yourself have symptoms of the virus. These include cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, vomiting, and severe headaches and body aches.

If you do, medical workers say go get a test right away.

If you don't have symptoms, but believe you may have been exposed, doctors say you and your immediate family needs to self-quarantine.

Then, wait about 5 days to get tested. Dr. Lara Cavanaugh of Children's Medical Center in Palm Harbor says "The reason for doing that is that you will probably get a false negative test if you do the test, and the first one or two or three, four days, since the exposure because there's not enough viral load in your nose."

Something else important -- just because you get a negative test result after the 5 days, does not mean you are necessarily in the clear.

Doctors say you can still become positive for the virus and they say you should continue to quarantine for a full 14 days after exposure.