COVID-19 patients struggle to get negative tests to return to work

Local News

WACO, Texas – With the number of COVID-19 patients rising nationwide, medical professionals are recommending sticking to CDC guidelines rather than trying for a negative test result.

“After ten days or so, if symptoms are gone and you’re fever-free without any form of medicine, such as Tylenol to help with the fever, then we would typically say that’s the CDC guidelines for a return to work,” says Premier ER Vice President of Business Strategy Paul Hamilton.

With some businesses still requiring a negative test for their employees to return to work, it may not be easy for a healthy patient to register a negative test – even if they aren’t contagious.

“We have seen, after that quarantine, the risk of spreading is minimal – if not at all. Even if you are still testing positive,” Hamilton said.

On a personal note, this is the situation I am in. After testing positive three and a half weeks ago, I have been unable to to register a negative test to return to work, even though I haven’t experienced symptoms in over two weeks and doctors deemed me no longer contagious.

This is an issue Premier ER has been seeing often.

“We have been in the position with a few different patients that had similar to what you have in needing a negative,” Hamilton said. “It’s gone on for a while – six, seven, eight, nine tests on a weekly basis. That’s the extreme.”

Doctors say COVID-19 traces can stay in the body for up to three months after someone tests positive, and will continue to show up on tests.

Premier ER says they have seen less and less companies require the negative test as the year has gone on. Since they talk with businesses about how they should handle COVID cases, they empathize with the situation.

“We try to just be a resource and give as best information possible, but I do understand that is a difficult position for any employer to be in,” Hamilton said.

The CDC guidelines are available on their website.

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