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Local doctor talks COVID-19 testing

Different types of testing and the right time to take a test.
Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 6:29 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Everyday more COVID-19 testing is being done across the state but local health care providers say just because it’s available doesn’t mean you should get a test.

CapRock Health System Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Lon Young says if you think you’ve been exposed to the virus you should think about waiting to get tested.

“We almost never see the test show a positive result in the first four or five days. With our current testing the prime time to get tested seems to be in-between day six and day eight,” said Young.

Bryan resident Angela Lawrenz says that’s why she waited to get tested after traveling.

“I was flying about a week ago, went to Nevada. I just wanted to know, being around all those people I thought it would be a good idea,” said Lawrenz “I knew you should wait like five days to a week before you had the test done.”

Young says there are two types of testing.

“The antigen based test is the most rapid and readily available, unfortunately it’s not that good at ruling out infection so if it’s positive it’s very helpful. If it’s negative you’re usually going to need a second test preferably the PCR test. It’s more reliable but not as available and takes a little longer,” said Young.

When it comes to a follow up after testing positive Young says new data is showing that people are testing positive days after they stop being contagious.

“The average person on a PCR based test, the most reliable test, will test positive for 21 days after they first develop symptoms. However, those people are probably no longer contagious after eight to 10 days,” said Young.

Young says contacting a health care provider is the best route to go before getting a test.

“If a person is in that situation they just need to be very careful about self-quarantine and those types of activities so they can prevent the spread until they can actually get the test.”

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