Doctors encourage travelers to take COVID-19 safety precautions as they return from Thanksgiving

Posted at 8:16 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 00:01:27-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — November recently became Tennessee's deadliest month on record for COVID-19 deaths. And Monday's report from the Tennessee Department of Health marked a record-high in a single-day increase of positive cases for the state, making November the state's worst month of the pandemic so far.

The department reported 7,975 new cases, putting the state at 374,493 total cases. And now that travelers are returning home after celebrating Thanksgiving, doctors say cases may only get worse.

Health officials say if you traveled for the holiday, you should get tested for COVID-19.

"A lot of people are asking should I be tested? Well you could try to do that but wait about a week because most people turn positive on day 6,7,8," said Dr. William Schaffner, Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Infectious Disease Specialist.

To help control the spread of the virus, monitor your symptoms. If possible, quarantine yourself until you get your negative results.

For those living with people who didn't travel with them, the CDC recommends wearing a mask and asking everyone in the house to wear masks in shared spaces for 14 days after travel.

"The best I can do is say watch symptoms very carefully," Dr. Schaffner said, "if you become ill you know you’ve engaged in risky behavior you have a high risk of being sick I’m afraid."

Testing does have its limitations, meaning if you receive a negative result, you should still wear a mask and socially distance.

To keep up with this surge in testing, the Metro Health Department says they will be extending their hours next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Hours will be extended to 7am to 3 pm instead of the usual 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Because of this week's inclement weather, Davidson County testing sites operated by Meharry Medical College will have delayed openings.

All three Community Assessment Centers will operate during the following times:

Tuesday (12/1/2020) 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Wednesday (12/2/2020) 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Thursday (12/3/2020) 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Friday (12/4/2020) 8:00 am – 2:00 pm

Testing at all assessment centers is free to the public.