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Doctor warns against unnecessary testing amid COVID testing shortage

Posted at 2:59 PM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 15:59:10-05

WACO, Texas — As supply struggles to keep up with demand, a Waco doctor is giving some tips to help cut down on unnecessary testing for COVID-19.

Dr. Jason Bryant, the Medical Director at Premier ER and Urgent Care, says they've seen a large increase in patients needing COVID-19 tests across all four of their Texas locations. As demand has gone up, Dr. Bryant has also seen an influx in people requesting tests who may not need them.

“When we exhaust the tests early when it may not be necessary — you just put yourself where we could easily run out of tests," said Dr. Bryant.

To cut down on unnecessary testing Dr. Bryant offers some tips.

You don’t need to confirm at-home tests

If you’ve had symptoms for a couple of days and you test positive with an at-home kit. Dr. Bryant says you don’t need to get the results confirmed at an urgent care.

“We get a lot of people who come in that get a positive over-the-counter test and they come in because they want to get it confirmed. You don't need to get it confirmed. If you’re symptomatic for a couple of days and you test positive you can pretty much trust those results.”

You do want to stay mindful of false negatives, however, which can come from testing too early or from not getting a good swab.

Don’t test too early after close contact

If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID, but you’re not showing symptoms, stay home and watch for symptoms. Testing too early could lead to a false-negative result.

The CDC recommends testing to check for infection at least five days after close contact. The date of the exposure is considered day 0.

“If you test too early and you get a negative result. You may be falsely assured that you don’t have it. We see that a lot where one person in the family will test positive and you look up and they’re lining up all the family. All the kids and the grandma and the grandpa and the dad and everyone else in the household – we’re going to get everybody tested. When it may not be necessary.”

If someone in your household has tested positive and you start showing symptoms, Dr. Bryant says – in most cases – it’s safe to assume you also have COVID even if you can’t find a test.

You don’t need to test negative to end quarantine

You don’t need to test negative to end quarantine – instead, follow the CDC’s isolation guidelines.

“About 25% of people could test positive for up to two weeks even though you’re no longer contagious or infectious,” explained Dr. Bryant.

Who should get tested

The CDC recommends testing for people who have developed symptoms of COVID-19. They also recommend testing for people who have come in close contact to test at least five days after.

If you’re unsure if you should get tested, the CDC’s Viral Testing Tool can help guide you: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/diagnostic-testing.html

Testing Locations

Premier Urgent Care and ER are currently accepting walk-in patients.

“We’ve been ordering and stocking up over the past months preparing for this demand,” said Dr. Bryant. “We didn’t know it was going to go up this quickly, but the team is amazing. We keep a pretty large supply on hand.”

Waco Family Medicine (WFM) is also offering testing. Dr. Zachary Sartor says WFM has plenty of tests but is experiencing a shortage in manpower.

“It’s a major bottleneck because the demand for those tests is so high. The resources that we have limits our ability to get everyone a test who needs one at this point.”

Waco Family Medicine is still accepting new patients. If someone needs a test and doesn’t have a primary care doctor, they can call to establish care.

Testing locations listed on CovidWaco.com:

You can set up a screening and appointment online or by phone. 1-833-919-1680

*Established patients only.

You can set up a screening and appointment online or by phone. 1-888-427-9723

Locations listed on Texas Health and Human Services Website: