Think you have allergies? So do many people testing positive for COVID-19 in Central Texas


FILE — People wait to get tested for COVID-19 at a pop-up testing site in Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021. Omicron has raced ahead of other variants and is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S., accounting for 73% of new infections last week, federal health officials said Monday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin-Travis County health leaders say many of the people testing positive for COVID-19 right now thought they only had allergies.

Janet Pichette, APH’s chief epidemiologist, said local contact tracers are hearing from an overwhelming number of people that tested positive for COVID-19 before the holidays that they thought they were experiencing cedar fever or other seasonal allergies.

Cedar counts have been very high in Austin-Travis County over the past few days.

Without testing for the virus, people thinking they have allergies may be unintentionally spreading COVID-19 to other people.

Local health leaders are asking everyone to test before and after traveling or gathering for the holidays. It seemed people in Austin-Travis County were obliging as at home tests become nearly impossible to find and on-site testing was booked solid in many cases.

Here are some options for COVID-19 testing around the holidays.

“We could have so many cases occur in such a short period of time and so many people having mild illness and just enough people who are at risk of severe illness…we will overrun our hospitals,” Dr. Desmar Walkes, the local health authority, said heading into the holidays.

If you feel sick, health leaders ask that you stay home.

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