Health department urges people to get COVID-19 test before Thanksgiving

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A syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa., on Sept. 14, 2021. U.S. regulators have opened up COVID-19 booster shots to all and more adults, Friday, Nov. 19, letting them choose another dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- Health officials are encouraging people to get tested for COVID-19 before gathering with family and friends.

Officials with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department said people still need to be thinking about COVID-19 mitigation strategies this Thanksgiving.

The health department is hosting a Celebrate Safely Testing Event on Nov. 23 and 24.

Testing will be held from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. on both days at the health department’s vaccination clinic at 1425 E. Battlefield Road in Springfield.

Appointments for the clinic are required and can be scheduled by clicking here. PCR tests are administered via a throat swab.

Health Department Public Information Lead, Whitney Mann, said they give same-day test results.

“If we are able to get folks in before that 12 o’clock hour, we can usually give them same-day results,” Mann said. “Our hope is that folks take advantage of that Tuesday or Wednesday opportunity to get tested and then have that same day PCR test result, so that way they know that they’re keeping their family safe.”

Mann said if people have big travel plans, they encourage them to get tested on Tuesday.

“You can have that peace of mind as you gather with your family because you can say, I don’t have the virus, I’m not able to spread it to you,” Mann said. “There might be folks in your family who are unvaccinated, or if you’re around children or elderly or immunocompromised folks, you have that certainty to say I tested negative, so I’m safer to be around you.”

She said getting tested for COVID-19 is something a lot of people thought about when COVID-19 first started, but it’s something people shouldn’t forget about.

“To let us know kinda where we are at to keep ourselves from spreading something that we don’t want to our loved ones,” Mann said.

Masking when indoors, frequent handwashing, and getting vaccinated are other strategies Mann said she recommends this holiday season.

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