Coronavirus testing surge expected as holiday season ends

Coronavirus testing levels are expected to return to normal as the holidays come to an end. With it, some people are predicting a surge in infections.

However, some doctors are cautiously optimistic that that won't happen.

"What we know for the holidays is that testing isn't constant. We know that both testing sites have altered hours or they shut down," said Dr. Jeff Pothof with UW Health.

When coronavirus testing is limited, data appear to show that infection rates are down; doctors call it a false sense of security.

"There is always this period of time after the holidays where we don’t know exactly what to make of the numbers. It almost always underestimate cases, just because there is less availability of testing," said Pothof. "As that testing comes back, you’ll sometimes see days that are much higher than what you’d expect."

Doctors at UW Health say people have to be patient to get a real sense of whether things are getting better or worse.

"You have to give it a week or so, a week or two, to see where those numbers actually go," Pothof said.

If how people handled the Thanksgiving holiday is any indication of how Christmas and New Year's is going to go, Pothof says it may not be so bad.

"We did not see a huge surge after Thanksgiving so in that corner, there is some optimism by health systems that people may have listened to what we had to say last time," said Pothof.

If people do not listen to their doctors, though, Pothof warns "we may actually see the super-spreader events coming out of New Year's with a lot of the people getting positive got the disease during Christmas."

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