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Health experts hoping to see increased traffic at testing sites after Thanksgiving holiday

KATY, Texas – Health experts are hoping to see increased traffic at testing sites this week now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over.

More Houstonians got tested for COVID-19 in November than any other month throughout the pandemic, according to the Houston Health Department. Data from the health department show 101,368 tests were administered last month in the city. The same data also shows a surge in testing days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday.

In Harris County, 21,109 people took a test from Nov. 17 through Nov. 30, according to Harris County Public Health.

Now, city and county health experts are hoping that the upward trend continues this week.

“At the same time were also uncertain whether some of that volume is because there have been more people that have been exposed or more people that are concerned,” said Dr. Umair Shah with Harris County Public Health.

Dr. Umair Shah said people who traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday, gathered in groups or even did Black Friday shopping should get tested for the virus. He said travelers should quarantine for two weeks to avoid the possibility of exposing others while they await their test results.

“We do know that the incubation period again for COVID-19 is two to three days,” Dr. Shah said. “But it takes generally five days to actually develop symptoms.”

Dr. Shah said it typically takes two to three weeks after an event, such as Thanksgiving, for health experts to see an increase in cases. With the positivity rate hovering around 9% and hospitalizations up, Dr. Shah is urging people to get tested, wear a mask, stay six feet apart and stay the course.

“In 2021 we’re going to have vaccines,” he added. “It’s right around the corner. We can see it. We can smell it. We know it’s about to happen but what we need to do is stay on our guard.”

Dr. Shah said Harris County is increasing staffing at county testing sites to make sure people can get in and out quickly.