Tis the season: Doctors urge COVID testing before and after holiday gatherings
DULUTH, MN. (KBJR 6) -As concern grows about the spread of COVID-19 over the Christmas holiday, testing sites around the state of Minnesota expanded their hours.
That included the DECC in Duluth, which was open for testing Monday when it is normally closed.
“Somebody just on social media this morning was saying how they’ve now asked their family to get tested before they gather and I just think that’s such a good idea just to make sure,” said Valerie Coit, who along with her partner, got tested for COVID at the DECC Monday.
Despite negative results, their Christmas plans changed due to cold-like symptoms.
That’s a precaution Northland doctors recommend this holiday season.
“We need you to get vaccinated, we need you to wear a mask even if you are vaccinated, we need you to stay home if you’re sick, get tested if you’re sick and encourage your family and friends to do the same thing,” said Dr. Anne Stephen with Essentia.
In a press conference Monday, St. Louis County health officials said November was the third most severe month of the pandemic, with more than 200 hospitalizations and 52 deaths.
“Hospital capacity is at the limit due to the lack of staff beds,” said Dr. Andrew Thompson, an infectious disease specialist at St. Luke’s. “We have beds, but we don’t have adequate nursing staff to care for those patients.”
Health officials expect a surge in cases after Christmas and said they urge people to do everything possible to stay healthy.
While canceling Christmas plans was a tough decision for Coit, she said it was the right one to make.
“We have a little bit of peace of mind now knowing that we’re negative and just hopefully get through this cold and then eventually visit family and friends,” Coit said.
Doctors recommend getting tested several days before any large gathering and three to five days after one.
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