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COVID tests recommended before holiday travel

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 6:04 PM EST
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TRENTON, N.C. (WITN) - President Biden announced Tuesday his plan to provide 500 million at-home rapid COVID-19 testing kits to Americans in January.

Health experts have reported that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is now the dominant strain of the virus in the U.S.

Experts with the state Department of Health and Human Services predict record high surges in COVID-19 case numbers during the winter.

Omicron is reported to spread two to three times faster than the Delta variant, which caused record-high case numbers last winter.

With the Christmas holiday this weekend and the New Year’s holiday the following weekend, health experts say testing with rapid test kits is essential to keep loved ones safe.

Rapid test results can be seen within 15-30 minutes of testing. Experts say it is important to make sure you test thoroughly with rapid tests as they can produce false negatives if not self-administered properly.

“Make sure that you actually get some type of secretions. You don’t want it to come out and just be completely dry, ‘cause then there’s really going to be nothing to test,” Leslie Chitwood, Jones County Health Department nurse practitioner said.

PCR tests are the most accurate of the COVID-19 tests, but Chitwood noted that “they can take 1 to 3 days to get results.”

Americans will be able to request the Biden administration’s rapid tests on a website.

Officials have not provided details as to when the website will be up and running or how quickly tests will be shipped out. However, they say this is one of the many new steps the president is putting in place to slow the spread of the new variant.

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