By Jacqueline Quynh

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Just one more day to get a rapid COVID test before December 25, but it’s not all about testing.

“The best gift this holiday season is prevention, you want to stay out of the hospital, you want to stay out of urgent care, you don’t want to be in a situation where you go to the hospital and there’s not a doctor available, there’s not a vent available,” Dr. Geeta Nayyar, UM Associate Professor of Medicine.

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Dr. Nayyar is encouraged that so many want to make sure they’re COVID free before gathering, hence long lines at mass testing sites, but she says err on the side of caution, if you can’t get one.

Nayyar specializes in autoimmune diseases, so she knows the risk is high, and she’s also concerned that cases will rise after this holiday, because the omicron variant is so contagious.

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“Remember test if you can, if you can’t you got to use some kind of smart analysis, partner with your doctor on this, if you’ve had an exposure, if you’re not feeling well, and if there’s any individual in your family that’s not vaccinated it might just be that time and quarantine and make the assumption that your test is actually going to be positive.”

Once again this year, health experts suggests holding gatherings outside.

“Socially distancing where you can, if folks have to demask where your eating or drinking; look we’re in South Florida, have your dinner outside, where and when you can, it’s perfect idea.”

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And Dr. Nayyar underscores the necessity to get vaccinated, and boosted.

Jacqueline Quynh