Is one negative COVID test enough?

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 8:32 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The sudden death of a JPS teacher after testing negative then positive for COVID has some asking questions about the testing process. A medical expert shares information on the accuracy of testing.

“The death of a school teacher is so unfortunate and sad,” said Dr. Jennifer Bryan.

The MS State Medical Association’s past chair describes the death of Theodora Bridges as heartbreaking. The North Jackson Elementary School teacher died of COVID after first testing negative, followed by a positive test.

The PCR and Antigen are common tests for the virus. The PCR is considered more accurate because it looks for the genetic material for the virus. Results take one to seven days.

The Rapid test or the antigen test searches for pieces of proteins for the virus. Results are available in 10 to 15 minutes.

“Even with any test, you can have false positives and false negatives,” said Bryan. “So again, if you’re detected early in the illness, even the PCR can be negative. So it’s really important to work with your doctor that if you remain symptomatic sometimes, we’ll retest people in a couple of days”.

Bryan, a family physician, urges anyone with symptoms to test early and ask for monoclonal antibodies, whether vaccinated or not, to decrease the rate of serious illness.

Bridge’s sister, Ellelean Childress, said the 10 year educator had received her first dose of the vaccine and was waiting to take the second.

“We know that patients can decline rapidly,” added Bryan. “So the takeaway really is not finding out so much what kind of test you’re getting. It’s to vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, and to prevent the spread to our school teachers to our other public servants and the other students.”

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