By Joel Waldman

SUNNY ISLES (CBSMiami) – Our new COVID reality often requires a pit stop at a testing site or urgent care center for a test to make sure you’re good-to-go, whether you’re going back to work, school or even back home.

“We’re going back to Canada,” a MedRite patient told CBS4 News.

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Another informing us, “I’m traveling to Brazil so I’m here taking a rapid test.”

But, as the old adage goes, don’t always believe what you read. You’re not necessarily getting “same day results” as the sign out front suggests. It’s something CBS4 news reporter Joel Waldman found out the hard way.

“I took a rapid test here last week on Monday and I didn’t get my results until Friday. Does that worry you?” Waldman asked a young woman hoping to return home to Brazil.

“Yes, a lot, because I have a flight to take and I need my results,” she responded.

Urgent care centers across south Florida not necessarily living up to their name these days.

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“I haven’t gotten my results now since December 31st!”

This Sunny Isles MedRite manager referred us to its marketing department for an explanation. However, there was no quick answer, so we turned to someone who knows a lot about what’s going on right now.

Dr. Kunjana Mavunda, a former Miami-Dade Department of Health medical director, told us bluntly, “The system is overwhelmed. Too many people are getting tests. And, unfortunately, too many people are getting tests at the wrong time.”

Dr. Mavunda, a pediatric pulmonologist, told CBS4 News the long wait time for test results is a perfect storm of high-positivity rates, a lack of lab workers, many who are out sick themselves and PCR tests which require patience.

“If you’re getting too many PCR tests that are being done then the system, the labs, will get overwhelmed. They might not have enough reagents to do it properly. And they might not have enough staff to run the tests,” Dr. Mavunda explained.

Since you might be waiting awhile for your results, the doctor says if you’re taking a rapid test, you’re more likely to avoid a false negative result by avoiding hot or cold drinks and some nasal sprays.

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Dr. Mavunda told us coffee is the most common culprit for throwing off a rapid test result. And, if you’re getting a test, do not take Afrin, the popular nasal spray.