COVID-19 testing not foolproof; might give false sense of security

Demand for testing skyrocketing around holidays, but tests are only accurate 70% of the time.

COVID-19 testing not foolproof; might give false sense of security
Drive-Thru COVID Test (Source: KAIT)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Something else beside turkey and stuffing on the table this Thanksgiving -- coronavirus -- and in abundance.

“The prevalence in the community is so high. It’s never been higher,” says Dr., David Margolius, an internal medicine specialist at MetroHealth Medical Center. “We’re in a tough spot right now. We’re in kind of a make or break week. We’ll either continue to rise, or we’ll plateau and start to fall and that will depend on how we do this week.”

MetroHealth has doubled the number of tests administered recently and, initially, they came positive about 3% of the time. Now 20% are positive. And the tests aren’t foolproof. They’re accurate about 70% of the time. That means a patient can test negative but still carry the virus.

“It’s not a fail-safe test. It doesn’t give you permission to infect others. I would love for testing in that way to be the answer, but it’s only one small part of the answer,” says Dr. Margolius. “If you have symptoms, assume that you have it and quarantine to keep yourself and others around you safe.”'

Masks and distancing still need to be part of the plan - along with a double helping of caution. Safety might be the most important part of the Thanksgiving menu.

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