COVID-19 Testing Guidelines: Should You Get Tested?

With all of the fast-paced changes surrounding COVID-19, we are all concerned about the well-being of ourselves and our loved ones. For those who may be experiencing flu-like symptoms or may have come in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, it is even more confusing and stressful. While most cases are mild and patients can recover at home, the questions of when and where should I be tested are valid and should be effectively addressed. Here is a helpful guide to assist you with those questions.

How do I know if I should be tested for COVID-19?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists the following symptoms as Emergency Warning Signs:

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breathe
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Where do I go to get tested?

*Please note that it is highly recommended that you call first before going to any medical facility to prevent further spread of the virus.

State and local public healthcare facilities have been provided tests from the CDC that can identify the COVID-19 virus. Commercial manufacturers are providing private medical professionals with tests. However, decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians. While both Walgreens and Walmart have pledged to open remote testing centers in the parking lots of some Chicagoland stores, these sites have yet to open.

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What is the testing process, and when will I get the results?

The CDC suggests that you call your doctor or clinician first if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are exhibiting symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Your doctor or clinician will conduct an interview and assess you for fever and other symptoms over the phone. These same procedures will be followed if you are seen in person by a medical professional in a hospital or clinic. If needed, respiratory tests will be taken, and the results are returned in 4-6 hours. The FDA approved a new rapid response test on Friday, March 20th, that can yield results in 45 minutes. These tests are set to ship out to medical facilities this week. For up to date information about COVID-19 go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

Paula J. Shelton, Contributing Writer

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