Here's what experts say to do if you traveled during the pandemic for Thanksgiving

Posted at 3:53 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 16:51:58-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.— Traveling during Thanksgiving is a risk more than a million people took this year.

If you went to see extended family and friends, there are steps you can take now to protect yourself and your community because you may have been exposed to coronavirus on your recent trip and not know it.

“If they become symptomatic, and then you know, definitely you would want to start quarantining yourself and probably stop by and get a test,” said Dr. Tiffany Sibley, Chief Medical Officer at Velocity Urgent Care.

Another reason to get tested is if members of your household are at high risk if they catch coronavirus.

“If you have an elderly relative or things of that nature, some people are erring on the side of caution of getting tested before they see that relative again,” said Sibley.

The doctor warns that people shouldn’t rush out and get tested as a precaution today because it takes several days after infection for the virus to become detectable.

“It takes time for the virus to infiltrate your system in high enough numbers,” explained Sibley. ”That's the incubation period to where you finally become symptomatic, and generally what we're seeing is around three to five days.”

That means if you came home Sunday, on average, you wouldn’t start experiencing symptoms or get an accurate test result until sometime between Wednesday to Friday.

If people in your household did not travel with you, the CDC recommends wearing a mask and asking everyone in your household to do the same in shared spaces in your home for 14 days after travel, no matter where you went or what you did during your trip.

Related: While some people stayed 'low key' this Thanksgiving, local restaurants helped provide some normalcy

If you find out someone you came in contact with has COVID-19, the CDC recommends staying home for 14 days after your last contact with the infected person because you might not have symptoms and could still be contagious.

Clinics like Velocity Urgent Care offer rapid COVID-19 testing with results in 15-20 minutes, but some locations are booked up days in advance, so people should check online to plan ahead.

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