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‘This virus is tricky’: Health expert warns COVID-19 spike could follow holidays

Coronavirus testing resumes Saturday after holiday break

COVID-19 testing resumed Saturday morning after sites across Florida closed for the holiday. Thousands of people rushed to get tested in preparation to travel before Christmas.
COVID-19 testing resumed Saturday morning after sites across Florida closed for the holiday. Thousands of people rushed to get tested in preparation to travel before Christmas.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – COVID-19 testing resumed Saturday morning after sites across Florida closed for the holiday. Thousands of people rushed to get tested in preparation to travel before Christmas.

The CDC has recommendations for those who traveled for the holiday:

  • It recommends getting tested three to five days after returning home.
  • If you receive a negative test, they recommend still isolating at home for seven days to be safe.
  • If you don’t get tested at all, they recommend isolating for 10 days.

“This virus is tricky,” said Dr. Mohammed Reza, an infectious disease expert. “Expect to see people coming back positive with this virus two to three weeks and sometimes up to four weeks from when they traveled.”

Reza said people don’t tend to have symptoms for two to 14 days after they contracted this virus.

On Saturday morning, the line wrapped around the old Sears building at Regency Mall. News4Jax counted at least 200 people within the first hour of the site re-opening.

“Getting that test done too soon can give you a high rate of false-negative; meaning you have the virus (but) it just comes back negative,” said Reza.

“Much of this virus is being transferred in the small gatherings with the people that you know and you trust, but they haven’t done the social distancing and could be asymptomatic,” he said. “If you were exposed yesterday you might be quite infectious going forward now and could be for the next few weeks.”

Over at the Legends Center on Soutel Drive, the lines weren’t quite long as at Regency, but people still rushed to get swabbed.

Reza can’t stress this enough.

“Keeping that physical distance along with wearing a mask will save lives,” Reza said.

Earlier this week, long lines were seen at the testing location at Regency Square Mall. The demand was high to get tested before the holiday with sites closing for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The latest numbers from the Florida Division of Emergency Management show more than 3,238 people tested on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, Regency set a record for the most tests in a single day on Monday with 3,499 tests completed.

The testing location at the Legends Center was also busy before the site closed for the holiday. More people rushing to get COVID-19 testing.

By Wednesday at 4 p.m. those who were not already in line were asked to go to another site since it reached its capacity. The site re-opened Saturday morning.

It’s open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. every day. The site offers rapid testing, antigen testing and PCR tests with no appointment needed.

Mayor Lenny Curry has extended Duval County’s mask mandate at least through Jan. 25.


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Multi-media journalist with a special interest in Georgia issues.