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Labor Day weekend brings risks for spike in COVID cases

We met with a local health official to talk about the risks. Dr. Shah of Thrive Alabama says we’ve seen this trend time and time again after holidays this summer.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala — Labor Day weekend is here, and if we aren't careful, this could mean a spike in COVID-19 numbers. We learned more about concerns and tips on how you can celebrate-- safely.

WATCH: HEALTH OFFICIALS WORRIED ABOUT RUSHING OUT COVID-19 VACCINE TOO QUICKLY

UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases spreading a message of warning Thursday, about the risk of seeing COVID numbers jump after the holiday weekend. Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, Director of UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases says during the press conference, “While we have made some strides with a lot of sacrifice, we’re still in a place where we have a lot of things to do. Not only to drive things down, but equally and more critically, to prevent that post-holiday surge that we can almost predict will happen if people do do what they tend to do on a 3-day weekend.”

We met with a local health official to talk about the risks. Dr. Shah of Thrive Alabama says we’ve seen this trend time and time again. She tells our reporter, “We’re all kind of just on call to see what happens. You know. We saw a little bit of a trend after Mother’s Day, after Memorial Day, after 4th of July. So, I think we’re hopeful that this time folks say ‘You know what? Let’s just wear the mask. Let’s limit where we’re going’. And maybe this time it won’t be so bad.” 

Some might plan on enjoying this weekend with others. But, there are a number of things to keep in mind. Dr. Shah adds,, “Staying 6 feet apart and wearing a mask is the best case scenario. And if anyone has any known exposure or is feeling sick-- to stay home.” 

Dr. Shah says Thrive Alabama hasn’t made any drastic changes at this point, but is keeping an eye out for any spikes in the event of more testing opportunities needed. She adds, getting a test the day after Labor Day if you think you might’ve been exposed, isn’t the best idea to get an accurate result. Dr. Shah tells our reporter, “You have to give it time to replicate if it’s there. And then to be able to have a viral load large enough for the PCR testing, the nasal swab testing, to catch it so to speak. So, we can run into having a false sense of security if we go and get tested the day of, or the next day.” 

Dr. Shah says safe time to get tested is about two days after symptoms or five to eight days post-exposure. 

No one should go to any large indoor gatherings. Keep groups small, outdoors and try not to mix households.

Dr. Shah reminds people, “We forget that family is not always somebody in your household. We say, ‘well, I’m just visiting with my parents, or I’m just visiting with my cousin’. Even though they’re family, they’re in a different household so, kind of think of the risk of each individual household unit.” 

Practices like sharing drinks or utensils with family and friends and long hugs should also be avoided. 

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