Pediatrician encourages parents to utilize Blue Ridge Health District’s PCR testing for symptomatic children

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – If you’ve struggled to find a COVID test for your child, you’re not alone. Many families are looking for PCR tests to keep their children in school and out of quarantine.

If a child experiences symptoms, they may be out of class for days, even if it is not COVID. That’s because many families in the area struggle to find where to get a test, and one with a fast turnaround.

“The first important thing for families to know is that all schools only accept the PCR to return to school,” said pediatrician with Pediatric Associates Dr. Paige Perriello.

That means you need to be careful and pay attention to the type of test your child is taking.

“MedExpress won’t always do a PCR test,” Perriello said. “Sometimes they do a quick one and families don’t understand that that’s not going to be accepted by the school.”

Rapid tests are often not accepted due to the high risk of unvaccinated students being near each other.

“It doesn’t mean there isn’t a good use for rapid testing in the community,” Perriello said. “But when it comes to getting kids back to school and symptomatic kids, we would miss three out of 10 infections. And as a community, we’ve decided that’s not an acceptable risk of returning children.”

All of this has led to a struggle to find PCR rest areas for children in the area.

“It’s so frustrating for families, schools and pediatricians that we have kids who have extra days to test,” said Dr. Perriello.

The Blue Ridge Health neighborhood offers solutions to these problems.

“There are PCR tests, free drive-up tests five days a week, Monday through Friday through the health department,” Perriello said. “Those tests have a turnaround time of one to three days, depending on the day of the week and who is performing the test.”

The location changes every day, but an appointment is not necessary.

“If the test is negative, the child will not be quarantined,” said Phil Giaramita of Albemarle County Public Schools. “So with a negative test they can come back. And of course, if the test is positive, they have to be in isolation at home for 10 days.”

That is the case if a child has complaints. If a child has been exposed, they should be quarantined anyway.

“We initially needed 10 days with a negative test,” Giaramita said. “But now we’re just obligated, need 10 days without the need for testing.”

dr. Paige Perriello says BRHD hasn’t turned people away from the drive-up tests in a long time. They have supply available. You can also call your pediatrician and schedule a test there.

You can find a list of where BRHD will test each day at COVID-19 BRHD test sites – Blue Ridge (virginia.gov)

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