WASHINGTON COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - In the days following Thanksgiving, health officials are bracing themselves for an uptick in COVID-19 cases. So what should you do if you test positive after spending the holiday with other people?

Tricia Mortell, Washington County health manager, says the first thing a person who tests positive needs to do is let everyone they were with know right away.

“I know it may seem hard, like I don’t want to tell my family or my friends, but that person would be helping the rest of the family or the friends because they could get into quarantine or isolation faster,” Mortell said.

Over the past two days, Washington County has reported more than 300 new cases of coronavirus.

Mortell said contact tracing each one of those people is a huge undertaking and they are asking for the community’s help.

“And if we can’t get a hold of someone right away, we move on to the next person,” Mortell said. “So we’re not catching everyone as quickly as we had before in the last few months.”

If you were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, Mortell said you should quarantine for 14 days and follow up with your doctor about getting tested.

“Often people are most contagious the two days before they feel their symptoms, so that’s why we’re encouraging the quarantine and to stay away from others for a 14-day period,” she explained.

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It is important to remember that a negative test result does not free you from that 14-day quarantine.

“You can become ill at any time when you’ve been exposed,” Mortell said.

With the expected holiday surge, Mortell said testing is at an all-time high and that some health care providers have to turn away some people who want to get tested.

“You may not be able to get a test if you’re not symptomatic at this point. For example, people were trying to get tested for travel, ahead of travel and it’s hard to do that right now when we have so many positive cases,” she said.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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