Health leaders recommend COVID testing amid holiday season

“I will tell you that every health department in the state of Alabama offers testing five days a week,”
Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 9:23 PM CST
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MORGAN CO., Ala. (WAFF) - Omicron is now the dominant variant of the Coronavirus in the U.S. It accounted for 73% of new infections in the country last week, and all happening right as the holiday approaches and COVID cases continue to rise.

Many of you are rushing to get tested before Christmas just to be sure, but how available are those tests right now as demand increases?

Judy Smith from the Alabama Department of Public Health says COVID cases and hospitalizations are up statewide with a 7.4 percent positivity rate. Morgan County has a 9 percent positivity rate.

“If you’re sick, it doesn’t matter what you’re sick with, be courteous and stay away from other folks,” said Smith.

The good news is, COVID tests are widely available.

“I will tell you that every health department in the state of Alabama offers testing five days a week,” said Smith.

Smith says so do most pharmacies and even urgent cares.

“There’s a lot of healthcare partnerships that are trying to do everything they can to let you do what you want to do,” said Smith.

As for what kind of COVID tests, Smith calls the PCR test the “golden test,” since it gets sent to a lab. She says rapid tests are also very accurate.

“I will say this, if they’re positive, they are positive. If they are negative, you still have to kind of question them. We encourage people to get tested but more than anything else, we have a secret to all of this. We have an absolute secret, and that is get vaccinated,” said Smith.

For state health departments, no appointment is necessary for testing, but it’s a lot more efficient to call ahead or pre-register.

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