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Health Insider: what to do if you can't get a COVID-19 test

Posted at 6:28 AM, Jan 11, 2022

Hours-long waits for a COVID-19 test, drug store pharmacy appointments booked days out, stores sold out of the home kits mean a COVID diagnosis is becoming harder again. Now that isolation guidelines are down to five days, many are left wondering what to do if they can't get tested in a timely manner.

ABC15 Health Insider Dr. Shad Marvasti says common sense will go a long way right now and if you have symptoms, it's best to assume you do have COVID, isolate and notify recent contacts. If you get sick with a fever and you can't breathe, then he says go to the hospital.

Once symptoms go away and you don't need pain relievers to clear the headache or congestion, you should still wear an N-95 or K-95 mask in public for another week.

RELATED: Where can I get a free COVID-19 test in the Valley?

"Nothing magical happens after five days. The five-day rule comes from an average of the population and how infectious they are. On average they tend to be much less infectious by day five but that varies from person to person," said Dr. Shad.

For those who can get their hands on a home test kit, Dr. Shad assures they do work in detecting the virus, they're just not as sensitive as a PCR lab test and might not be as reliable if you are at the tail end of your illness. If you test negative, it is best to test again after a minimum of 24 hours.

Home test kits are only designed to pick up coronavirus and will not detect any other virus or bacteria.