OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — As Thanksgiving approaches, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people not travel to see loved ones in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Many who still plan to spend time with their family, however, want the peace of mind of knowing whether they have contracted the virus. This week, many drive-thru rapid testing sites in the Kansas City metro were busy, including the Health Gauge COVID-19 testing site at Oak Park Mall in Overland Park.
"They just want to get tested before they are around their loved ones, just to make sure that everyone is safe during the holidays or any events they are going to," said Kieanna Brooks, lead at Health Gauge.
41 Action News spoke with a few people after they were tested on Friday.
"Going to have Thanksgiving with our parents and just want some extra verification that all is good," Lacey Maugham said.
"We found out that we were exposed and so we wanted to get tested to see if we were positive at all," Kelsey Kulesa said.
With testing demand soaring, local health experts point out that even with a negative test result, people should stay vigilant.
"It’s not a hundred percent thing. You’re negative just because you get a negative test result, especially if you decide to go out into the community again before you go to Thanksgiving, there’s going to be an increased chance," said Kayla Parker, communications coordinator for the Jackson County Health Department.
The bottom line: A negative test result shouldn't mean abandoning precautions.
"While we understand the peace of mind that people are seeking, it is worth noting that a negative test does not mean you are in the clear," said Stephen Maheux, preparedness program manager at the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.
To ensure you have the results of your test before Thanksgiving, health experts tell 41 Action News to take a test no later than Monday. They also advise people to use the PCR tests rather than rapid testing for a more accurate result.
"Really what you want to ask when you are getting tested is, 'is this a PCR test?' It’s the most accurate test," Maheux said.
Click the links below to find a testing site near you in: