Doctors say don’t write off symptoms as a cold, get tested for COVID

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A medical worker takes a nasal swab sample from a student to test for COVID-19 at the Brooklyn Health Medical Alliance urgent care pop up testing site as infection rates spike on October 8, 2020 in New York City. – New York’s governor announced earlier in the week tough new restrictions in several areas recording high infection rates to try to ward off a second coronavirus wave. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana leads the nation in new COVID cases due to the delta variant being so transmissible and the low vaccination rates. Doctors in Baton Rouge said while the CDC guidance suggests people who are vaccinated don’t need to be tested, now the state is urging people to do so.

The delta variant is showing up with symptoms closer to a cold — sore throat, runny nose, headache, which many people are writing off as nothing to worry about.

“If you feel sick please don’t go out, don’t just assume it’s a cold or allergies. Please stay at home, talk to your doctor and get tested so that we can hopefully stop the spread,” said Dr. Rachael Kermis, Baton Rouge General Family Medicine Physician. “Especially because the delta variant is just so potent with how easily it is spreading.”

Testing is still widely available for both walk-in and appointments. The Louisiana Department of Health has community testing sites and information for pharmacies and urgent care centers for people to get tested. Under the new guidelines, the governor suggests people get tested after they are exposed and then again 5-7 days later if negative the first time.

“So, unfortunately, I have seen some people test negative on the rapid antigen test and then we have to go and run a PCR that will sometimes come back positive,” Dr. Kermis said.

There has been an increase of over 700 breakthrough cases since last week. The majority of the new cases are unvaccinated people. With more exposure to the virus, it does increase a vaccinated person’s risk.

“The mentality that we have needs to flip so now we’re in a surge. Now we have to buckle down and do all the mitigating measures that we know work and we know that because it got us out of three previous surges,” State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter said.

Find a testing location or book an appointment here.

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