Need For COVID Testing Grows But Many Testing Sites Are Closing

Tuesday, August 24th 2021, 4:34 pm
By: Jonathan Cooper

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Doctors in Oklahoma are encouraging more testing for COVID-19 as the delta variant continues to spread statewide.

OU's Chief COVID Officer Doctor Dale Bratzler says there are fewer testing locations than earlier this year. Bratzler says CARES act funding has expired for many testing locations, but there are still options out there, and even an over-the-counter rapid test now.

Bratzler says some places in the state have seen long lines for testing, especially as kids head back to school and some are exposed to the virus. He says it's important to follow CDC guidelines if you have direct COVID-19 exposure.

That means if you're vaccinated, you don't need to quarantine, but should wear a mask, watch for symptoms, and get tested 3 to 5 days after exposure. Bratzler says the incubation time with the delta variant is much shorter and most people will show symptoms within 5 days if they're positive.

If you're unvaccinated, the CDC recommends you also get tested but quarantine as well. 

"People start shedding the virus and can spread the infection before they develop any symptoms at all,” said Bratzler. “Particularly in that first three days or four days after they develop symptoms, that's when they carry the most viral load and can spread the virus."

Bratzler says the symptoms of the delta variant are similar to the alpha variant we saw earlier this year.

But those symptoms are also common with other illnesses as well, so he says it's best to get tested.