The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) updated its COVID-19 testing guidance and recommendations on Thursday.
Statewide COVID-positive cases have increased significantly over the past three weeks from 29,568 the week of Dec. 10 to 298,455 the week of Dec. 24. In Alachua County, cases rose from 71.1 to 759.7 per 100,000.
Gainesville hospitals have witnessed an increase over the past month in COVID hospitalizations and expect a continued influx in the coming weeks.
COVID testing sites are experiencing significant wait times throughout Alachua County. UF announced Tuesday that it would increase access for students, staff and faculty by moving its testing to Ben Hill Giffin Stadium and Alachua County Public Schools updated its COVID safety protocols following its two-week holiday break.
A copy of the full FDOH COVID-19 testing guidance can be found here.
According to the FDOH press release, many individuals with COVID-19 may have no symptoms or a mild illness. If you get symptoms, you should avoid contact with others. A positive COVID-19 test result will not change this recommendation.
There are certain groups who are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Severe illness means that an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 may need hospitalization, intensive care, or that they may even die. Groups at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:
- Older adults, especially those age 65 and older.
- Individuals with certain medical conditions, including cancer, diabetes, chronic lung diseases, heart conditions, and a weakened immune system (immunocompromised).
- Pregnant or recently pregnant
Individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 and who are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
- Should get tested for COVID-19 soon after symptom onset.
- Should seek early monoclonal antibody or antiviral drug treatment and seek other medical treatment as necessary.
Individuals with symptoms and who are not at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
- Consider getting tested for COVID-19 soon after symptom onset.
- Seek medical treatment only as necessary.
Individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19, but have no symptoms:
- COVID-19 testing is unlikely to have any clinical benefits.