As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, party-goers are getting tested days before parties and events in hopes of avoiding having to wear a mask. Authorities are warning that this is not the smartest idea.
“That’s actually a false sense of security. It’s a false narrative,” explained Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County’s director of public health. “Your test result that you got Saturday morning was from Thursday when you got tested, and it said, ‘On Thursday, you were negative.’ It says nothing about whether you’re still negative on Saturday.”
On Monday, Ferrer said that she had been made aware of many young adults who are getting tested just to go out on a specific night. If a person is tested shortly after becoming infected but before the virus reproduces enough copies of itself, a test could fail to detect the virus, resulting in a false-negative result.
“I do want people to understand that testing on Thursday so you can party on Saturday: That doesn’t work. It’s not a good idea. It’s not effective, and you really are in some ways, wasting a valuable resource.”
In Los Angeles, COVID-19 cases have jumped at alarming rates in the 18 to 29 age group, who are largely responsible for the county’s overall rise. In just last month alone, this age group’s case rate has more than doubled, from 11.5 cases per 100,000 residents to 25 cases per 100,000 residents in L.A. The 30 to 45 age group has the second-highest case rate. In the last month, that age group went from 9.4 cases per 100,000 residents to 18 cases per 100,000 residents.
“And although this rate of increase is not as sharp as that for our younger age group, it is still quite alarming,” Ferrer said. “It is clear that L.A. County is at a very dangerous point in the pandemic.”