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The best time of day to get a COVID test | Health Beat with Brea Love

Research shows an early afternoon appointment might help you get the most accurate results. Our ABC10 health expert explains why.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Research shows scheduling your COVID-19 test for around 2 p.m. could yield the most accurate results. 

ABC10 Health Expert Dr. Payal Kohli explained how researchers could determine this. 

"Our system actually follows the circadian rhythm, which means it changes with day and night, with light inflammation or immune activation can probably be highest at night," Kohli said. "In other words, the number of copies that the virus is making of itself may be lowest at night time because the immune system is activated the most. Whereas during the day, the immune system may kind of go down in its activation. So, there may be more copies of the virus."

Dr. Kohli said you can compare it to scheduling a surgery. Data shows the best time for a procedure is around 10 a.m. 

"Because the surgeons are awake, the operating room has already kind of started up, it's not the first case of the day. It's not the last case of the day. So, in the same way the testing facilities are probably kind of at their peak in terms of performance in the middle of the day, as opposed to early in the morning or late in the evening," Kohli said. 

She said if you have the choice, getting your COVID test in the afternoon could be a good idea, but if you need one it's best to schedule it whenever you can find an appointment. 

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