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UVA infectious disease physician offers guidance on COVID-19 testing when vaccinated

Thomas Jefferson Health District conducting tests for COVID-19 in the White Hall area of...
Thomas Jefferson Health District conducting tests for COVID-19 in the White Hall area of Albemarle Co (FILE)(WVIR)
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 3:27 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - While many people are putting face masks back on, testing for the coronavirus may also be making a comeback.

“If you do get infected with a Delta variant, you’re just as likely to transmit it as somebody who’s not vaccinated,” University of Virginia Infectious Disease physician Amy Mathers said. “So that was really the new finding and why a lot of the movement and recommendations have changed around universal masking.”

With all of the warnings about the Delta variant of COVID-19, and stories about breakthrough cases, one question is: How sick do you need to feel before getting tested?

Mathers says that the threshold for testing should be low: If you feel sick, a test won’t hurt.

“We need to have a low threshold for testing with symptoms so that we can get ahead of those cases and reduce transmission,” she said. “The symptoms might be slightly more mild, but same things: headache, fevers, chills, feel bad, runny nose, sore throat, nausea and vomiting or GI symptoms, any of those things.”

While breakthrough cases are rare, masking helps to prevent transmission of the virus.

“Make sure you’re wearing a mask or limiting exposure to others because unfortunately, if you did get infected again, you’re just as likely to transmit the virus as you were even if you’ve been unvaccinated,” Mathers said.

Mathers says the best way to protect yourself and others is still to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

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