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Reported COVID cases may not reflect actual infected numbers

If you are positive with an at-home test, you should report it to your doctor.

SAN ANTONIO — Co-workers, family members, yourself, many are coming down with the latest extremely transmissible variant. But the official COVID numbers may not be reflecting actual cases in the community.

The reason for the discrepancy is likely because people are testing using at-home test kits, and if they are positive, many are not reporting it resulting in lower numbers. Many are STILL not following the at-home kit instructions properly, with multiple tests needed 48 hours apart.

"I didn't know that. I just happened to just take it again, just to make sure that we knew we had it or not," said Sierra Williams, who came down with COVID in the past week along with her two children. She didn't know you were supposed to test multiple times at least two days apart. 

"That can be that can be pretty confusing for a lot of people," she said. 

The CDC says if you are showing symptoms you must test immediately. If you were exposed to someone with COVID, test at least a full 5 days AFTER your exposure. If you test negative on either test, repeat the test again 48 hours after your last test. For those with symptoms, if you test negative, consult a healthcare provider and follow safety precautions to protect yourself and others. But if you were the one exposed and the test was negative, wait another 48 hours and test again, for a total of three tests. 

Dr. Jason Bowling, an infectious disease specialist with University Health, and Professor of Infectious Diseases with UT Health San Antonio said, "There's different kids out there, but most of them recommend that you take a second test 48 hours later if you're still having symptoms, because the sensitivity is not the best early on, an infection for those home tests."

On their website the National Institutes of Health says, "Health care providers and laboratories have a well-established system for sharing laboratory test results, but there is no system for reporting at-home testing. When at-home testing results go unreported, public health recommendations made based on laboratory testing data may not reflect current COVID-19 levels."

If you do test positive for COVID-19, it is strongly encouraged that you contact your local healthcare provider to report it, so the official COVID numbers can be as accurate as possible. 

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