When Should You Get Tested For The Novel Coronavirus?


It is important to detect COVID-19 early to prevent serious complications and avoid exposing other people to the coronavirus. However, there have been challenges in getting tested, from shortage of testing kits, strict guidelines to confusing symptoms. 

There are several factors to consider before you seek a coronavirus testing. The first one is to observe the common symptoms of COVID-19, which are fever, dry cough and tiredness.

If you have these conditions, isolate yourself at home and avoid close contacts with other people. Call your healthcare provider to discuss your condition before visiting the clinic.

However, not all people infected with the novel coronavirus develop symptoms. There have been growing asymptomatic cases, where patients never experienced illnesses linked to COVID-19 but tested positive for the virus.

How can you get tested if you don’t have symptoms of the coronavirus infection? Doctors provide tests to those who believe they interacted or went to the same place that an infected person visited. 

There are different types of COVID-19 tests available to date. One method focuses on the virus’ own genetic material and the other looks for antigen or the proteins on the surface of the virus.

Antigen-based tests provide the fastest results but are slightly less accurate. Molecular coronavirus tests take hours to days to return results but the method detects a higher percentage of infections, according to WebMD.

Not Everybody Can Get Tested

Getting tested for coronavirus is not that simple. States and communities have different standards for who can obtain a COVID-19 test based on availability of testing kits and a priority list

In all states, people who have clear symptoms of the coronavirus infection receive priority for testing. But public health officials recommend that people call their healthcare providers before visiting clinics or testing sites to avoid transmission of the virus. 

For those without symptoms of COVID-19 but believe they were exposed, check the guidelines on your state’s website to determine whether you should get tested or not. 

Aside from fever, dry cough and tiredness, other symptoms of coronavirus you should observe are loss of taste or smell, discoloration of fingers or toes, aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhea and conjunctivitis. The infection can also cause difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain and loss of speech or movement.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Test Kit A medical staff displays a test kit to detect the novel coronavirus at a COVID-19 screening-drive, at the Amsterdam UMC in Amsterdam The Netherlands, on March 24, 2020. ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

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