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COVID: Pharmacists caution Arkansans to get proper testing

Arkansas pharmacists explain why it's important to stay mindful of their health as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

ARKANSAS CITY, Ark. — For many of us, COVID feels like a concern of the past – but for Daniel Cate, an owner at Market Place Pharmacy in Little Rock, it hasn't left his mind.

"The last couple months, we've had a pretty large uptick, just in our part of the community of COVID cases," Cate said.

When cases surge like they have been recently, so do the number of questions Cate gets.

"A lot of folks have been asking about vaccinations, should I still get one?" he said. "And the answer is yes, cases are on the rise."

Cate said his recommendation would stay the same whether there's a spike in cases or not. Our situation has changed though, we're much more prepared than we were when the pandemic started.

"It's not something that needs to completely shut down or shelter our lives now," he said. "But we can just be mindful, be responsible and take some precautions here and there."

These precautions will sound familiar – wear a mask, social distance, and stay home if you feel sick.

"Those things that we need to do, the quarantine, staying away from people wearing a mask are still important for people to do," Anne Pace at Kavanaugh Pharmacy said.

Pace says the basics may seem just that – basic. But she added that you should get tested if you feel sick, even if you aren't convinced it's COVID.

While those at-home tests are helpful in a pinch, Pace adds that they're not always the most accurate.

"So it's just kind of one of those things, people need to be aware that those at-home tests have a very high rate of false negatives," Pace said.

Cate agreed with this statement and advised people to watch for signs of worsening symptoms.

"If symptoms get worse, and an at-home test said negative, it's probably a good idea to go for one of the more accurate tests like a PCR," he said.

Whether you're experiencing COVID symptoms or just feeling under the weather, both Cate and Pace urge Arkansans to stay home until they are able to get an accurate test.

"It's not one of those things we should just blow off and go, 'it's just part of our life now,'" Pace said. "We still need to make it an important part that people are doing the responsible thing for themselves and for their community."

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