ARTICLE UPDATED to reflect new CDC quarantine guidelines released 12/2/2020.
The CDC revised it’s quarantine guidelines for people who have been exposed to someone who has tested positive. The CDC’s new guidelines say that after exposure to someone who has tested positive,
As Florida’s cases of COVID-19 increase, free testing is available in Lake and Orange Counties. A PCR test (also know as a molecular, or RNA test) should be used to test for active COVID-19 infections. People who test positive should self-isolate.
Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who tested positive should quarantine. Close contact is defined as indoor or outdoor contact within six feet for 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period. The quarantine can end after Day 10 if no symptoms are present. Alternatively, quarantine can end after Day 7 with a negative test taken on Day 5 or later. Appropriate tests are RT-PCR tests or antigen tests with 70% sensitivity. Antibody tests are not recommended for this purpose at this time.
The new CDC guidelines also state people should still watch for symptoms (headaches, fever, a cough, runny nose, sore throat or a loss of taste or smell) for the full 14 days after possible exposure. People can continue to quarantine for 14 days without testing per existing recommendations. This option maximally reduces risk of post-quarantine transmission, according to the CDC.
FREE LOCAL COVID-19 TESTING :
Free testing sites include CVS pharmacies which offer nasal swab PCR tests and Curative Labs which has highly accurate PCRmouth swab testing at three convenient Orange County locations. Appointments can be made quickly on their websites and only minor symptoms are required. PCR tests are considered the most accurate COVID-19 tests available. The optimum time for testing to detect the virus is 5 to 7 days after exposure or upon symptom onset.
The Florida Department of Health in Lake County is also offering free PCR nasal swab tests for residents and non-residents at the Clermont WIC location, located at 560 W. DeSoto Street. Testing is available Monday through Friday beginning at 9 a.m. and until test kits have been exhausted. No symptoms are required and children may also be tested.
Lake County has partnered with Adult Medicine of Lake County until December 8 to offer free rapid antibody testing to Lake County residents with no appointment or symptoms necessary. Rapid tests are considered significantly less reliable due to false negatives. Instead, PCR tests taken 5-7 days from exposure or upon symptom onset are recommended for more accurate detection of active COVID-19 infections (see below). The rapid antibody tests are available at Lake Square Mall in Leesburg from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (except Sundays and Thanksgiving Day).
For anyone that isn't mobile, Costco offers its members in-home saliva PCR tests for $140 online. Local outpatient clinics, labs and private providers may also provide testing, but the public should inquire if they administer PCR or rapid tests.
For questions, call the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline at (352) 742-4830. The hotline is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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