Don't count on rapid COVID-19 test for Thanksgiving all-clear

Posted at 6:32 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 23:18:53-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — If you waited too long to get a standard COVID-19 test, you may have tried out a rapid test in the last couple days.

But doctors say don't count on that rapid test to keep you safe if you're going to a Thanksgiving gathering.

Doctors said the rapid tests are inaccurate and can often give a result that you're COVID-free, even if you are in fact positive for COVID-19. That's because there's not enough time to replicate the disease in a lab -- something the standard PCR test does to make the virus easier to find.

"The rapid tests don't have that capacity, if there's not very much virus there, it's not sensitive enough to find it," said Dr. William Schaffner.

Doctors say any decision you make about attending a Thanksgiving dinner should be made with your loved ones in mind. They say to think about future Thanksgivings, and the possibility of some loved ones not being there if they die from the coronavirus this year.