Health leaders urge COVID-19 testing after possible Labor Day exposures

When to get tested after exposure
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 9:23 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Health officials are expecting a spike in COVID-19 cases after the Labor Day weekend and are urging everyone to get tested after exposures.

“We are seeing Delta a bit earlier,” Dr. Karen Landers with the state health department said.

Landers said people with the Delta Variant are having symptoms and testing positive sooner after exposure than previous strains.

“If you are a very close contact, if you know that you meet the definition of a contact, be tested around three to five days,” Landers said.

She said Delta is showing up as early as three days after exposure, which means Labor Day holiday cases may already be happening. Landers said she doesn’t want to see a spike, but it is likely.

“Community transmission rate is high and our overall percent positivity rate is high so it is very very likely that you have been around someone with Covid,” Landers said. “I think it is very very likely that we are going to see more cases over the next several days to two weeks.”

While tests can come up positive within three to five days, Landers said it is important to follow home quarantine guidelines, because you can test positive up to two weeks after an exposure.

“If you know you were a contact, but you’ve tested negative, and you’ve passed your seven to ten day quarantine, then continue your mitigation. By that I mean wearing your mask, keeping your hands clean, and following your social distancing. You still could contract Covid up to 14 days after that exposure.”

Landers said if you are symptomatic, regardless of vaccination status, then you don’t need to wait three to five days, you can get tested as soon as symptoms start.

Click here for testing across the state.

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