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'For Everybody's Safety': Lines Return At LA County COVID Testing Sites Following Thanksgiving Holiday

LAKE VIEW TERRACE (CBSLA) — The lines were long, but people waited patiently in their cars Monday at a COVID-19 testing site at Hansen Dam Recreation Center following the Thanksgiving holiday.

People arrive in cars for Covid-19 tests at a coronavirus testing site in Los Angeles, California on November 30, 2020 following the Thanksgiving holiday. - Los Angeles County's new stay-at-home restrictions took effect on November 30, 2020, one day after the county reported more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

One of those waiting was Paul Montoya, who was getting a test after his son tested positive on Sunday.

"He came over for Thanksgiving, tested positive, and then he told me that he tested positive," Montoya said. "So once he told me, I told my boss, he said 'Yes, go get tested.' So, I just want to make sure I'm fine."

Dr. Michael Hirt, the director of the Center for Integrative Medicine in Tarzana, said it is important to get tested for coronavirus, because people are having more contact with those not in their bubble.

"What I recommend to my patients is that if they think they've had exposure because they were outside their bubble, you want to check yourself at about three days and at about eight days," he said. "Generally speaking, about 85% of people, in terms of COVID transmissibility and infectivity, will be detected in eight days. The reason we wait 14 days is that gets about 98% of people."

Hirt said if people feel ill or might have been exposed, getting a test is not enough because of the possible delay in getting results. He said the first, and most important, thing people should do is quarantine.

"Unless you know the result of your test, you need to stay quarantined from others, particularly those who are vulnerable," he said.

And Dr. Thomas Yadegar, the medical director of the intensive care unit at Providence Cedars-Sinai in Tarzana, agreed that the best course of action is to quarantine.

"If you test yourself too early in the disease course, you may get a false negative," he said.

As for those with symptoms, Yadegar said they should contact their physician.

"The main things that we're looking for is if you're having fevers beyond five days — especially if you're having any types of shortness of breath or if your oxygen levels are going down — if you're having difficulty with breathing then it's best to come into the emergency room," he said.

As for those waiting in line at Hansen dam to get tested, they said they just wanted to be safe as cases and hospitalizations skyrocket in Los Angeles County.

"I just want to make sure, for everybody's safety," Montoya said.

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