Coronavirus Updates and Resources
As the number of reported cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to escalate, concerned Americans are desperate to find out whether or not they are infected themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a laboratory test kit to detect COVID-19, but due to the novelty of the virus and high demand for testing, it has been largely inaccessible to the public. There is also a lot of conflicting reports in the media surrounding testing, which makes the overall facts somewhat unclear.
In an effort to provide some clarity, we’ve gathered some essential details from the CDC regarding the COVID-19 diagnostic test. Here is what you need to know:
The CDC has developed a test kit that uses an individual’s upper and lower respiratory specimens to detect severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is the virus that causes COVID-19.
According to the CDC, here is what you can expect from a common COVID-19 diagnostic test:
Patients who test positive for COVID-19 receive the appropriate care depending on the severity of their case. This can range from hospitalization for people showing severe symptoms to telemedicine visits and self-quarantine for those with mild cases.
The CDC recently released testing guidelines that describe three general classes of patients who seek the COVID-19 diagnostic test. At this time, patients must have a referral from a medical professional to get tested. Those who are getting tested fall into one or more classes:
According to the CDC, the main symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. If you develop these symptoms, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. Because the symptoms are also associated with the common cold and flu, it is up to them to determine whether testing is necessary for your case. If you believe you have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19, call your health care provider immediately and tell them about your exposure.
As of March 19, there are currently 91 public health laboratories in the U.S. that have completed verification and are offering COVID-19 testing. These health laboratories are located in all 50 states as well as Washington D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico. If your healthcare provider determines that you need to be tested, they can refer you to a testing location.
Testing is crucial to curbing the COVID-19 outbreak because it identifies infected individuals that need to be isolated or quarantined. It also lets public health workers build a more accurate picture of the number of cases in certain areas and how the virus is spreading throughout the population.
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to progress, it is likely there will be new developments with diagnostic testing in the coming weeks. Be sure to regularly check CDC.gov for the most up-to-date information regarding diagnostic testing.
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For information and guidelines specific to the coronavirus outbreak, visit cdc.gov
This article is for general information and should not be relied on as medical advice. Check with a medical professional for medical advice.