A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

To prevent major COVID comeback, test twice this holiday season; take steps that have proven to work

Kentucky Voices for Health

After a period of relative calm, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) added over 3,500 new cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky this week, pushing three counties (Floyd, Johnson, and Magoffin) back into the level of “high” transmission.

It’s important to remember real-time transmission rates are likely even higher than those already reported, a result of increased community spread from the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend shopping.

A potential COVID surge is absolutely the last thing Kentucky needs right now, already reeling from a bevy of respiratory illnesses like flu and RSV that have shut down schools and threatened to push our pediatric care system to the brink.
The Department of Public Health is already encouraging Kentuckians to take some important preventative measures:

• Stay home if you are sick
• Wash your hands with soap (at least 20 seconds)
• Use hand sanitizer when soap and water isn’t available
• Cover your coughs/sneezes with a tissue, or your elbow (don’t use hands)
• Wear a mask to decrease the spread
• Make sure you are up to date with your flu shot and the latest, Omicron-targeted bivalent booster.

These steps may sound familiar.

The reality is they work.

As we head into a busy December filled with friends and family, close contacts with at-risk populations like children and the elderly can often seem unavoidable. There’s another rule of thumb to consider before heading to a major holiday event: test twice.

To make for safer gatherings, experts recommend testing for COVID-19 twice using at-home antigen tests to catch asymptomatic cases. Take your first test two days out from your gathering, and another test the day-of.

Don’t forget to mask up for ten days following a positive result. But even if your first test is negative and you don’t have symptoms, testing twice helps avoid false negatives and provides an extra layer of certainty for yourself and your loved ones.  

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