Mayo expert: Pre-Thanksgiving COVID-19 test not a hall pass for get-togethers

A feast for Thanksgiving dinner is shown in a file image taken on Nov. 2, 2007. (Photo by Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The President of the Mayo Clinic Lab says a pre-Thanksgiving COVID-19 test will not ensure your family’s safety.

Negative COVID-19 tests do not necessarily mean Minnesotans will be in the clear for Thanksgiving dinner this year because a negative test taken Saturday may be positive today or Thursday.

The saliva tests many people are taking can get people results in 48 hours, but during that time the patient could have caught the virus.

Dr. William Morice, the President of the Mayo Clinic Lab, says there is no single test out there that gives anyone a stamp of approval.

That means, if you just got back a test result that is negative, that does not give you a hall pass to attend any Thanksgiving get together that you want and do whatever you want.

“It might give you some measure of security that you are not going to be exposing people, but you still have to mask and socially distance and those things if you want to be sure that you are not going to be spreading the virus, even if you had a negative test,” said Morice.

What Morice is really worried about is people disregarding safety precautions during the holidays, which will put even more pressure on medical systems. Not just hospitals and medical workers, but testing capacity, too.

Morice says the country has a capacity of 1.5 million tests per day, but even that has its limits. He says testing is going to become even more important heading into 2021 to help manage the distribution of the vaccines that are expected to come out.