Despite COVID vaccines, Midstate doctors stress importance of testing

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — The vast majority of Pennsylvanians are still not eligible to get a COVID vaccine, nor is there enough supply. And with new variants spreading throughout the community, it’s important to get tested.

A COVID test is one of the keys to prevention and for the next five days, up to 450 people per day can get one at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center.

“If you know, you make better decisions. You know how to kind of isolate yourself, quarantine yourself, so you can take care of yourself,” said Larissa Gourdet, nurse practitioner and team lead for AMI Expeditionary Healthcare.

UPMC Pinnacle Infectious disease Dr. John Goldman says the number of tests in symptomatic patients that are positive should be about six percent if the virus is under control.

“In December it was up around 40%. It’s gone down to about 30% but what that indicates is there’s a lot of transmission of COVID in the area,” Goldman said. “It means we all have to be very careful.”

One of the big concerns is the new, more contagious variants that present people with the same symptoms or lack thereof.

“But they’re probably about 75% more invective. They spread more easily,” Goldman said. “There is fear that they’re going to become the most common variant in the United States.”

If that’s the case, there could be another surge in cases.

Now it’s a race between the variants and the vaccines.

“If most of the population is vaccinated, it’s going to slow the variants down to the point where they really are unlikely to transmit themselves easily,” Goldman said.

So before it’s your turn for the vaccine, testing is the next best option to keep yourself and those around you safe.

Testing will be available at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center every day through Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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